Some sun protection comes at a steep price for the ocean’s coral reefs. Now, a Florida state senator wants to ban some sunscreens that entirely harm ocean life.
Sen. Linda Stewart’s bill would require a prescription to make use of sunscreens with oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemical compounds present in most sunscreens that successfully shield against UV radiation; however, researchers suggest, can also trigger coral bleaching and eventually kill reefs.
Under the bill, their sale can be banned without a prescription.”Reef-safe” sunscreens that leave out those ingredients instead of others, like FDA-approved zinc oxide, would take their place on retailer cabinets.
Stewart instructed CNN she created her bill after similar ones passed in Key West and Hawaii. These banned the sale of all sunscreens with the two chemical substances to guard close by reefs, vital to the islands’ tourism economy and marine biodiversity. The measures will not go into impact until January 2021.
If reefs continue to die, global coastlines will take a severe hit. Coral reefs are natural protection for coastlines, and they are absorbing 97% of a wave’s energy to prevent erosion and potential property damage from storms, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They’re also home to 25% of all marine life, serving as tropical rainforests that shield the ocean’s biodiversity.
However, they’re beneath fixed attack, and chemicals in sunscreen are hard for corals. Changing ocean temperatures and air pollution has killed almost 30% of the world’s reefs, inflicting heat stress and mass bleaching occasions, in response to NOAA.
For most excellent sun safety practices, NOAA recommends choosing “reef-secure” sunscreens and, higher but, masking up. Staying beneath an umbrella, carrying UV sunshades and long-sleeve shirts and leggings protects skin even better than sunscreen does, the agency said.