Hawaii to become first state to ban sale of certain sunscreens

Hawaii to become first state to ban sale of certain sunscreens

Come 2021, Hawaii beachgoers will have to furnish a doctor's prescription for sunscreen labels containing oxybenzone and octinoxate in order to purchase them in the state.

The bill, SB 2571, states that the chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, "have significant harmful impacts on Hawaii's marine environment and residing ecosystems". 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. But did you know that some sun protection products contain ingredients that can damage and kill coral reef? The group Retail Merchants of Hawaii has said it's concerned the ban will discourage people from buying sunscreen at brick and mortar stores.

State Sen. Mike Gabbard (D), who sponsored the bill, said when lawmakers passed the measure that Hawaii is "on the cutting edge".

Scientists found that oxybenzone and octinoxate can cause young developing coral to die, as well as bleaching, DNA damage, and deformities to the reefs. "When you think about it, our island paradise, surrounded by coral reefs, is the ideal place to set the gold standard for the world to follow".

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Roughly one-quarter of coral reefs worldwide are already considered damaged beyond fix, while another two-thirds live under serious threat, according to WWF Global. The prohibition takes effect in 2021.

Jay Sirois, director of regulatory affairs for an association that represents sunscreen manufacturers, recently told NPR: "We're taking away a product, or products ... that have been shown over the course of time to be safe and effective" against the harmful effects of the sun. Consumers will instead have to buy reef-safe sunscreens lacking the chemicals.

Tuesday's signing makes Hawaii the first US state to enact a ban on oxybenzone and octinoxate.

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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