Hawaii becomes first state to ban certain suncreens

07 July, 2018, 04:49 | Author: Darnell Taylor
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David Ige is expected to sign the world's first ban on the sale of sunscreens containing the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate this week.

The bill, which Hawaii Governor David Ige signed on Tuesday, will not go into effect until 2021.

Oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are in most sunscreen products, are believed by scientists to be toxic to coral reefs. The group Retail Merchants of Hawaii has said it's concerned the ban will discourage people from buying sunscreen at brick and mortar stores. "Governor, by signing this measure, you are presenting our community with a unique moment in time to protect our coral reefs".

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.

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Hawaii lawmakers passed legislation earlier this year banning the sale and distribution of sunscreens made with oxybenzone and octinoxate. The bill recognizes exceptions for people who are prescribed the sunscreens for medical needs. It also refers to previous research that estimates that between 6,000 and 14,000 tons of sunscreen lotion, which contains anywhere between 1 to 10 percent of oxybenzone, floats into coral reefs every year. "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.

"Some of our products contain FDA-approved amounts of oxybenzone and octinoxate, active ingredients that are created to protect skin against the damaging effects of ultraviolet light and provide critical broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays", the company said. "As always, we will continue to ensure we comply with all relevant regulations concerning oxybenzone and octinoxate". 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.

This law does not include products marketed or intended for use as a cosmetic.

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