Hawaii to become first state to ban sale of certain sunscreens


Hawaii to become first state to ban sale of certain sunscreens

Gov. David Ige signed SB 2571, Act 104-prohibiting the sale, offer of sale, and distribution of sunscreens that contain the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate in Hawai'i, beginning January 1, 2021.

"This new law is just one step toward protecting the health and resiliency of Hawaii's coral reefs", David Ige, the Hawaiian Governor, said as he signed the bill bringing the proposed ban into law.

"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.

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

"In my lifetime, our planet has lost about half its coral reefs", he said.

Environmental organizations argue that certain sunscreens - which research has shown can wash off from skin into the water while swimming or bathing - can be toxic to the coral reefs. In addition, this law does not include products marketed or intended for use as a cosmetic, not does it include sunscreens prescribed by licensed healthcare providers.

Sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate will only be available to those with a prescription from a physician. "By taking the lead on banning these unsafe chemicals in sunscreens, we've started a tidal wave which will help bring our coral reefs back to life", he told KHON2 News.

"This irresponsible action will make it more hard for families to protect themselves against the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays", the Consumer Healthcare Products Association said in a statement.

Up to 70 percent of sunscreens sold on the USA market contain oxybenzone and up to 8 percent contain octinoxate, which often appears on the labels as octyl methoxycinnamate, National Public Radio reported.