PALAU BANS REEF-TOXIC SUNSCREEN CHEMICALS TO SAVE CORALS
By Julia Beyer - November 2, 2018
The list includes chemical UV-filters such as Oxybenzone and Octinoxate that have been banned in Hawaii earlier this year. As a consequence, the US congress is currently looking at legislation to ban oxybenzone in the States as well.These changes in regulation are based on growing scientific evidence about the dangers these chemicals pose for both humans and the environment. According to Dr Downs, one of the experts in the field, “Oxybenzone is probably the baddest actor out of the 10 chemicals that have been banned. It causes corals to bleach at lower temperatures and it reduces their resilience to climate change.”. Dr Downs works as a forensic ecotoxicologist and has been consulting governments worldwide to help them protect their coral reefs.
Chemical UV-filters Are Particularly Threatening for Recovering Coral Reefs
According to the researcher, reefs should recover from disastrous events like mass coral bleaching over the following years. However this is not what researchers observe in many parts of the world.
“Life doesn’t scramble back in where there are tourists. The juvenile phase of coral are more susceptible to chemical pollution than adults.”
– Dr Craig Downs
“There’s almost a dozen scientific papers in the last two years that shows how these chemicals are toxic to corals, fish, sea urchins, macroalgae,”
– Dr Craig Downs
What Are Safe Alternatives?
The number one advice is simply: Reduce your need for sunscreen, wear sun-protective clothing! And if you have to apply sunscreen on areas that you can’t protected otherwise, especially your face, opt for reef-safe sunscreen! Most importantly, that implies choosing a sunscreen with zinc – a sunscreen that contains only non-nano Zinc Oxide (which is the UV-filter that we use in all our Suntribe sunscreens).