Protecting wildlife and decreasing the effects of global warming is a top priority. To mitigate the effects of global warming on reefs, it is essential that we ban the toxic chemical oxybenzone. A multitude of different sunscreen contains this chemical.
This toxic chemical is causing the bleaching of coral reefs and skin cancer in humans. Approximately 14,000 tons of sunscreen ends up in the ocean, where it bleaches and kills corals. The chemical is toxic to algae, which provides the vital duties that coral needs to survive, so when it disappears, the coral becomes bleached.
Regardless of the location of the chemical in the sunscreen, showering off this chemical will eventually lead from the sewers to the oceans. Coral reefs are home to countless marine species so the degradation of reefs would cause extinction rates to increase dramatically.
Biodegradable sunscreens that combat the problem of coral bleaching and lower the risks of cancer can easily substitute for oxybenzone. We know this is possible because Hawai’i already passed a bill banning oxybenzone in sunscreen by 2021.
It is vital that we take further initiative and ban all sunscreens with oxybenzone on a statewide level.