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Hawaii to become first state to ban sunscreens to protect marine ecosystems

06 July 2018

Studies show the chemicals are harmful to coral reefs.

The U.S. state of Hawaii is about to announce the world's first ban on sunscreens containing two chemicals deemed damaging to its coral reefs, local media reported on Monday.

Hawaii Governor, David Ige, signed a bill that will ban the sale of sunscreens containing chemicals harmful to coral reefs.

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Although the law will not take effect until 2021, it has already been opposed by "ABC Stores, the Hawaii Medical Association, Hawaii Food Industry Association, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and Personal Care Products Council, as well as Bayer, which manufactures Coppertone sunscreens", according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Sunscreen containing the two chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate will only be available to those with a prescription.

Mario Tama / Getty Images Hawaii's Gov. David Ige said during a bill signing ceremony, "We are blessed in Hawaii to be home of some of the most handsome natural resources on the planet, but our natural environment is fragile". "Our natural environment is fragile, and our own interaction with the earth can have lasting impacts". Although not all parties are pleased with the move, Ige felt it was one way to help protect the coral reefs of his home state which are known around the world for their natural beauty. We know the tide is against us. "When you think about it, our island paradise, surrounded by coral reefs, is the flawless place to set the gold standard for the world to follow". "This legislation is a big step forward for the protection of our coral reefs, marine life and human health".

Hawaii to become first state to ban sunscreens to protect marine ecosystems