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Hawaii to become first state to ban sale of certain sunscreens

06 July 2018

Gov. David Ige has signed legislation that will ban the sale of sunscreens containing two chemicals believed to harm coral reefs. Merchants carrying sunscreens will have until January of 2021 to cease the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Today's signing makes Hawaii the first USA state to enact a ban on oxybenzone and octinoxate. He said the state would need to continue other efforts to protect coral, including fighting invasive species, pollution from land runoff and climate change. "By taking the lead on banning these risky chemicals in sunscreens, we've started a tidal wave which will help bring our coral reefs back to life", he told KHON2 News.

Studies have suggested octinoxate can contribute to coral bleaching and oxybenzone exposure leads to the death of baby coral, according to the report.

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Gov. Ige said regarding the bill, "This is just one small step toward protecting and restoring the resiliency of Hawaii's reefs".

Various sunscreens from the prominent brands including Banana Boat, Australian Gold and Coppertone consist of either oxybenzone or octinoxate, as indicated by a research conducted by the cosmetics ingredients database of the Environmental Working Group.

Between 6,000 and 14,000 tons of sunscreen are released onto coral reefs every year, a 2015 paper found.

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Sunscreens containing chemical substances harmful to coral reefs will be banned in the USA state of Hawaii from 2021, U.S. local media reported Wednesday. We know the tide is against us.

State Rep. Mike Gabbard (D) touted the law as a "first-in-the-world" measure when it passed the state legislature in May. "We've got a limited amount of time".

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Hawaii to become first state to ban sale of certain sunscreens