Hawaii just puts a ban on some sunscreen in order to protect the state’s essential coral reefs and became the first state to take this initiative.
On Tuesday, July 3 Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed a bill, it promotes the prohibiting the sale of sunscreens which contains two chemicals named octinoxate and oxybenzone. They believed that these chemicals damage coral reefs and other types of marine ecosystems.
State lawmakers passed the legislation in early May. Senate Bill 2571 prohibits the sale and distribution of non-prescribed sunscreens on the islands that contain oxybenzone or octinoxate, which can be deadly for coral larvae.
This law will not put a ban on medically prescribed sunscreens or makeup that contain this chemical oxybenzone and octinoxate.
“This bill is a small first step worldwide to really caring about our corals and our reefs in a way that no one else anywhere in the world has done,” he said during the bill signing.
This law makes Hawaii the first U.S. state to enact legislation designed to protect marine ecosystems by banning such sunscreens. The prohibition takes effect on Jan. 1, 2021.
“We are blessed in Hawaii to be home of some of the most beautiful natural resources on the planet, but our natural environment is fragile, and our own interaction with the Earth can have everlasting impacts,” I said.
Many Democrats in the state’s legislature offered big support to this bill.
Healthy reefs are a fundamental part of a larger ecosystem, and it is important to the health of our planet, Sen. Roz Baker said in a statement.
“Governor, by signing this measure, you are presenting our community with a unique moment in time to protect our coral reefs,” Baker said.
Rep. Chris Lee emphasized the importance of such environmental measures in a statement on Tuesday.
“In my lifetime, our planet has lost about half its coral reefs,” Lee said. “We’ve got to take action to make sure we can protect the other half as best we can because we know that time is against us.”
Sen. Mike Gabbard said when lawmakers passed the measure that Hawaii is “on the cutting edge.”
“When you think about it, our island paradise, surrounded by coral reefs, is the perfect place to set the gold standard for the world to follow,” Gabbard told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “This will make a huge difference in protecting our coral reefs, marine life, and human health.”
For the state, coral reefs have many benefits, such as protecting the coastline, maintain the marine life and most importantly its a key tourist attractions place for the state.
However, when the ban was proposed many people opposed this initiative, mostly sunscreen companies and medical groups show their disagreement.
In more than 3,500 sunscreen products that are most popular in the world, these chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate are used in manufacturing them, including brands like Hawaiian Tropic, Banana Boat, and Coppertone.
In early may, The Washington Post reported that many organizations have made public statements to show their disapproval.
In answer to Hawaii sunscreen ban The in may, Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) released a statement stating that it would severely compromise the safety and welfare of millions of Hawaii residents and tourists by banning at least 70 percent of the sunscreens on the market today.
Mineral sunscreens are still allowed which uses zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to physically protect from sun harmful rays.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) made a list of sunscreen brands which are ‘reef – safe’.