We want you all to be safe in the sun and protection is the key! Being knowledgeable about the type of sunscreen we use is important for your health and the health of the ocean. Here is a blog by Julie Gardener Kaua’i Sea Rider Dive Master and Marine Naturalist. – Tara Leota, Owner Kauai Searider Adventure Tours
Recent studies have taught us that a certain chemical commonly found in sunscreens, oxybenzone, is having a devastating impact on the coral reefs, specifically here in Hawaii. While this chemical doesn’t immediately kill the coral – it has been linked to causing deformities in the larvae of coral and makes it much more difficult for the corals to recover from damage, disease and bleaching.
These sunscreens can be harmful even if you don’t swim in the ocean, as it ends up in our urine and other waste water that could eventually make its way into the ocean. We have even seen that many sunscreens that claim to be “reef safe” still contain small amounts of oxybenzone.
Hawaii’s senator, with the support of many other ocean advocates, are planning to introduce legislation for Hawaii to ban sunscreens that contain oxybenzone beginning in 2018.
We understand these things take time, and in the meantime we encourage you to play an important role in protecting our ocean’s health. Please read the ingredients on your sunscreens, and avoid any that contain this harmful chemical. We recommend sticking to more natural sunscreens with zinc as they key ingredient to protect from the sun’s harmful rays. It can also be really helpful to wear long sleeves, rash guards, and hats.
Mahalo for your help in keeping our ocean healthy!