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Why is Reef Safe Sunscreen Necessary?

Posted by Bill DAlessandro on

When you’re going to be swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, or just relaxing somewhere with a coral reef, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll be wanting to spend as much time as possible near these natural beauties. If you’re planning on enjoying these tropical destinations you’ll be hit by tons of sun that you might not be used to, and any smart beachgoer or swimmer will be wearing their sunscreen. But did you know that you could be killing the increasingly rare coral reefs just by entering the water wearing sunscreen? It’s true, chemicals found in most brands of sunscreen that are supposed to block the sun’s rays instead come off in the water to bleach the coral and disrupt the endocrine systems of the diverse marine animals found near coral.

The concern about the effects of sunscreen chemicals on reefs has been primarily studied by Craig Downs of the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory. His findings have centered around the main ingredient in chemical sunscreen because these chemicals would not be found in a reef safe sunscreen. Oxybenzone is an effective UVA and UVB ray blocker, but Craig Downs found it to kill coral in quantities as little as one drop per six and a half swimming pools. He said, “It’s pretty horrifying.” 14,000 tons of the dangerous sunscreens enter the water each year. 15% is the estimate of how much of the world’s reefs are being damaged by these sunscreen chemicals.

Reef Safe SunscreenCoral reefs contribute so much to the economy that it’s in everyone’s best interests to keep them safe even for reasons beyond the pure enjoyment of the beautiful sights they provide. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs conducted economic studies that concluded coastal resources including reefs added revenue of $800 million per year to the state’s economy. There are over 3,500 sunscreen products on the market that damage these ecosystems. A reef safe sunscreen is the best way to stay safe in the sun while keeping the oceans clean.

Many tourist destinations, parks, and resorts are now banning sunscreen with chemicals like oxybenzone. They are thinking long term about keeping their part of the water healthy for the coral and marine animals. If you are visiting one of these places, be sure to bring a reef safe sunscreen like Coral Safe that will be allowed. Recently there have been some early political moves towards state wide bans starting in Hawai’i where the threat is probably the greatest. There is a yearly Coral Reef Symposium where researchers and activists meet and present their findings on coral, and State Senator Will Espero was invited to speak at their 13th annual event.

Reef Safe SunscreenMr. Espero proposed a bill to end of the sale of chemical based sunscreen anywhere in the state. Some consumer groups and lawmakers were worried that this would raise prices and make it harder for people to access the safety of sunscreen, but Espero disagreed with this idea when he said “since there are eco-friendly sunscreens on the market now, a total ban hurts no one.” Mexitan sunscreens are one the best of these options.

Our reef safe sunscreen Coral Safe lets you still be the sun while not having to worry about harming the oceans and reefs that everyone loves so much. It’s perfect for any beachgoer, snorkeler, and scuba diver and it’s even made with green tea, a powerful antioxidant!


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