Help Protect Maui County Reef Systems From Harmful Oxybenzone/Octinoxate Sunscreens

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With a variety of reef safe sunscreens and spf products available on the market, banning the ones that are proven to kill the reef seems like a no brainer.

 “Healthy coral reefs contribute to local economies through tourism and sustain ecosystems where people can fish. Reefs also protect the global environment by serving as carbon sinks, absorbing carbon dioxide that would otherwise contribute to global warming.” –Time Magazine

There is substantial evidence proving that the SPF sunscreen ingredients oxybenzone and octinoxate harm and kill coral reef systems. These chemicals can kill at least seven different types of coral, and it doesn’t take much to do it: a single drop in 4.3 million gallons of water—six and a half Olympic sized swimming pools—is enough to be deadly. In Maui County alone, it is estimated that about 55 gallons of sunscreen enters out waters every single day.

In August 2017 council member Cochran introduced a bill that would prohibit the sale and use of sunscreens that contain these toxins in Maui County. Despite substantial public support, strong scientific evidence, and credible expert opinion the proposed new law is stalled indefinitely and waiting to be scheduled for hearing at the discretion of Council Member Mike White. It’s been 8 months. WE NEED YOUR HELP TO GET IT SCHEDULED ASAP – EVERY DAY THAT THESE TOXINS ENTER OUR WATERS IS A DAY THAT THE OUR REEFS SICKEN. 

 Sunscreen is one of many threats to our reef systems. Other threats include pollution, overfishing, climate change, invasive gorilla ogo, and sedimentation from erosion. The solutions to many of these threats can be quite complex and lengthy, but with sunscreen the solution is fairly simple and can largely be addressed through this proposed law. Phase out what’s proven to kill the reef and phase in safe and effective alternatives. 

Sign this petition supporting the passage of the 17-179 and urging Mr. White to schedule a hearing for the bill.


Citations and resources:


 Coral Bleaching on Airport Reef, Tutuila, American Samoa

Oxybenzone alters coral DNA, makes coral more susceptible to potentially fatal bleaching and acts as an endocrine disruptor, causing baby coral to encase itself in its own skeleton and die, according to the findings published in the Environmental Contamination and Toxicology journal. 




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