July 5, 2018

The Sunscreen Dilemma: Hawaii is taking its first step to preserve their coral reefs

Hawaii - a jewel of the world - is taking its first step to preserve their coral reefs.

Hawaii became the first state in the nation to ban the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. Hawaii Governor, David Ige, signed the legislation this past Tuesday and the law will go into effect on January 1, 2021.

The Scoop on Oxybenzone

Why ban almost every sunscreen sold at a drugstore or supermarket? "The chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, are believed by scientists to be toxic to coral reefs."[1] Oxybenzone has been shown to be a hormone disrupter for both coral reefs and humans. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders in humans.[2] According to the Environmental Working Group, the FDA has not reviewed the hazards of these chemicals since they were grandfathered in in the 1970's. These toxins are also absorbed into our skin and stay in our bodies.[3]  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention routinely detects oxybenzone in more than 96 percent of the American population.

Hence the sunscreen dilemma - while the chemical sunscreen we wear each day is protecting us from the damaging effects of UV radiation, it may be doing us more harm than good!

Photo Credit - The Ocean Agency

Mineral Sunscreen 

The safest way to protect ourselves from the sun's damaging UV radiation is with mineral based sunscreens. Yes, they are nanoparticles and have the reputation of leaving a white sheen on top of the skin, but Zinc and Titanium based sunscreens provide strong sun protection with few health concerns and don't break down in the sun.[3] EWG's Guide to Sunscreen is a good place to learn in more depth the safer sun protection options available to us.

Recommended Mineral Sunscreens

Goddess Garden Organics Natural Mineral Sunscreens
Beautycounter's Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion
Attitude Living's EWG verified Sun Care Products

Resources and Further Reading
All images © 2018 Grace Song Photography

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