Sunscreen. Pete Evans hates it and now Hawaii might be banning it. Well, not completely, just the sale of over-the-counter sunscreens that contain two common chemicals believed to be damaging the state’s coral reefs and ocean life.

The chemicals in question are oxybenzone and octinoxate. Believe it or not, they are currently used in more than 3,500 of the world’s most popular sunscreen products.

Lawmakers in Hawaii have just passed a bill (which still needs to be signed off by Governor David Ige), which puts January 1 2021 as the cut off date for the sale of any more sunscreens containing the chemicals.

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Under the new law, people in Hawaii carrying a prescription for sunscreens containing the chemicals in questions would still be able to order it, while tourists would still be able to bring their sunscreen of choice into Hawaii.

The proposed ban has partly come about following a well-known 2015 study of coral reefs in Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Israel which concluded oxybenzone “leaches the coral of its nutrients and bleaches it white. It can also disrupt the development of fish and other wildlife.”

Yesterday in Hawai'i, lawmakers passed a bill that prohibits the use and sale of sunscreens that contain 2 harmful chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate. These chemicals cause mortality in developing coral, increase coral bleaching, and cause genetic damage. If the bill is signed by Governor David Ige, Hawai’i will ban these sunscreens beginning Jan. 1, 2021 and become the first state in the nation to enact this type of law. No need to worry though, there are many reef-safe sunscreen alternatives, which contain minerals such as zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, instead of these harmful chemicals. We are excited that legal action is being taken to help preserve our gorgeous coral reefs! #wavewednesday 🌊 • • PC: Jeff Biege Photography

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Researchers estimate that a whopping 14,000 tonnes of sunscreen ends up in coral reefs around the world each year.

“Amazingly, this is a first-in-the-world law,” State Senator Mike Gabbard, who introduced the bill, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

“So, Hawaii is definitely on the cutting edge by banning these dangerous chemicals in sunscreens.”

State Senator Mike Gabbard.

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According to reports in local Hawaiian media, many Hawaiian businesses are not waiting for the governor to sign the law to start putting in place their own bans in a bid to protect the environment.

 

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READ: Most Aussies still book Hawaii through their Travel Agent

What do you think of the new bill? Do you think Australia should pass it too? Let us know below.