The rapid decline of reefs has become an unmistakable global problem, evident everywhere from the Florida Keys to Hawaii and the South Pacific - chemical filter sunscreen pollution threatens coral reefs.
Hawaii signed the first bill in the U.S. to ban the sale of sunscreen chemicals that are toxic to coral reefs and marine life.
The study conducted on sunscreen chemicals destroying coral reefs was published in the journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. The Study found that the chemical oxybenzone has toxic effects on young coral that causes endocrine disruption, DNA damage and death of coral, among other problems.
Oxybenzone and octinoxate are destroying the oceans around the world, according to scientists whose research has shown that the chemicals break down coral by leaching it of nutrients and disrupt the development of fish and marine life, like sea urchins and algae. Coral reject symbiotic organisms and lose their color.
Bleaching has been particularly prevalent in recent years due to rising sea temperatures. Currently, somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 tons of sunscreen enters coral reef areas around the world each year, according to the U.S. National Park Service. That's a lot of sun screen considering how little it takes to cause toxic effects.
According to the new research, toxicity occurs at a concentration of 62 parts per trillion. That's the equivalent of a drop of water in an Olympic swimming pool, according to study author Omri Bronstein, a researcher at Tel Aviv University. "Current concentrations of oxybenzone in these coral reef areas pose a significant ecological threat," Bronstein said in a press release.
Researchers were careful to note that they are not advocating the swimmers stop wearing sunscreen, which protects against skin cancer. Instead, they urged consumers to consider carefully what sunscreen they buy before swimming in the ocean. Sunscreens with titanium oxide or zinc oxide have not been found to harm reefs, according to the National Park Service. Additionally, swimmers can cover their upper body with long sleeve shirts or other apparel to reduce sunscreen use.
Active ingredients in chemical sunscreens tend to be the most problematic, though preservatives, such as parabens, can also pose an environmental threat.
Beeswax can contain industrial insecticides that, when emulsified in beauty products, can unleash these chemicals on your skin and in the water.
Love Sun Body 100% Natural Origin Mineral Sunscreens active ingredients are non-nano zinc oxide/and or titanium dioxide and inactive ingredients contain no GMO, parabens, phenoxyethanol, nanoparticles, silicon, PEG, synthetic perfumes, dyes or animal-derived ingredients.