The Department of Land and Natural Resources is urging the public to be cautious when choosing sunscreen.
At an IUCN news conference, officials said a popular additive called Oxybenzone is being linked to coral death. According to a new report, some 14,000 tons of sunscreen lotions wind up in coral reefs around the world each year.
The chemical has been known to cause deformities in coral larvae… making them unable to spread. It’s also increased the rate of coral bleaching, the whitening of coral heads due to stress, which makes the coral weak, brittle, and often leads to death.
Scientists say a small amount of sunscreen on each beach goer in Hawai‘i eventually adds up. Bob Richmond is the Director of the Kewalo Marine Laboratory.
Scientists urge consumers to choose a brand that uses zinc or titanium oxide… instead of oxybenzone. They also add that sunscreen containing oxybenzone is only damaging to reefs… and recommend saving any brands containing it for hikes, and other non ocean related activities.