Hawaii bans sale of sunscreens with coral-harming chemicals

July 03, 2018 - 7:01 pm

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige has signed legislation that will ban the sale of sunscreens containing two chemicals believed to harm coral reefs.

Tuesday's signing makes Hawaii the first U.S. state to enact a ban on oxybenzone and octinoxate. The prohibition takes effect in 2021.

Scientists have found the two substances can be toxic to coral, which are a vital part of the ocean ecosystem and a popular draw for tourists. Consumers will instead have to buy reef-safe sunscreens lacking the chemicals.

Critics say there aren't enough independent scientific studies supporting the assertion that the chemicals harm coral reefs.

The group Retail Merchants of Hawaii says it is concerned the ban will discourage people from buying sunscreen at brick and mortar stores.

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