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Hawaii Becomes First US State To Ban Sale of Coral Damaging Sunscreen

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© Getty Images As of January 2021, the sale of sunscreens containing the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate will be prohibited in…

By Mia Taylor, TravelPulse

In a bold and historic move that’s being applauded by environmental advocates, the governor of Hawaii signed a bill this week banning sunscreens deemed harmful to coral reefs.

Hawaii is the first state in the country to institute such a ban.

Passed nearly unanimously by Hawaii's House and Senate on Monday and signed by the governor on Tuesday, the bill takes effect in January 2021 and prohibits the sale of sunscreens containing the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate.

The chemicals are used in more than 3,500 of the most popular sunscreen products, according to BBC News.

Research done by US scientists shows oxybenzone and octinoxate are one of many factors contributing to the bleaching of reefs around the globe and are particularly toxic for young coral.

One group of scientists found that oxybenzone and octinoxate could stunt the growth of baby corals and that oxybenzone was toxic to seven coral species in lab tests.

The groundbreaking bill was introduced by Democratic Senator Mike Gabbard, who told the Honolulu Star Advertiser that it is "a first-in-the-world law".

"Hawaii is definitely on the cutting edge by banning these dangerous chemicals in sunscreens," Gabbard said. "This will make a huge difference in protecting our coral reefs, marine life, and human health."

The Aqua-Aston hotel group, which has 40 properties across the state of Hawaii, immediately applauded the new bill.

“This is a huge win for Hawaii. We are proud of the role Aqua-Aston Hospitality played to raise the volume on this issue, by lending our voice and bringing a greater awareness that by choosing the right sunscreen it’s possible to protect your skin and help preserve the reef," said Theresa van Greunen of Aqua-Aston Hospitality.

"We have a responsibility to take positive steps to create a culture of sustainability and protect the Hawaii we love and as we look to advance our #ForOurReef program, we will continue to advocate for sustainability in Hawaii, raising awareness not only about sunscreen and our reefs but also the importance of eliminating single-use plastics to protect our oceans," van Greunen added.

Aqua-Aston was one of the trailblazers in Hawaii when it came to raising awareness about the damage sunscreen does to coral reefs. The hotel company initiated a program in 2016 that involved giving out free eco-friendly sunscreen to guests at all of its properties and had also installed eco-friendly sunscreen dispensers at its properties.

Aqua-Aston began was inspired to create its public awareness initiative after a spate of news about the global coral bleaching epidemic.

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Travel - U.S. Daily News: Hawaii Becomes First US State To Ban Sale of Coral Damaging Sunscreen
Hawaii Becomes First US State To Ban Sale of Coral Damaging Sunscreen
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