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Hawaii bans certain sunscreens to protect coral reefs
07 July 2018, 04:51 | Justin Tyler
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The ban will not be applied to medically prescribed sunscreens or makeup that contain oxybenzone or octinoxate.
While Hawaii legislators touted the bill as a victory for coral reefs, others expressed concerns about its potential economic repercussions.
The objective of this law is to preserve marine ecosystems, including coral reefs.
Leaders need to act quickly to save what coral world has left, he said.
But state Rep. Chris Lee, who represents the Honolulu suburbs of Kailua and Waimanalo, said the law is a necessary step to help Hawaii pass on its reefs, ocean, tourism industry and way of life to the next generation. "Governor, by signing this measure, you are presenting our community with a unique moment in time to protect our coral reefs".
"Oxybenzone and octinoxate cause mortality in developing coral; increase coral bleaching that indicates extreme stress, even at temperatures below 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit; and cause genetic damage to coral and other marine organisms", the recently passed legislation reads.
"The legislature further finds that environmental contamination of oxybenzone and octinoxate persists in Hawaii's coastal waters, as the contamination is constantly refreshed and renewed every day by swimmers and beachgoers", according to the bill.
Sunscreens containing minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide reflect the sun's rays away from skin and are a good alternative to chemicals that could be harmful to ocean reefs.
Senator Mike Gabbard, who first introduced the bill, labeled SB 271, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that "Hawaii is definitely on the cutting edge by banning these risky chemicals in sunscreens".
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