SALT LAKE CITY — Families planning that dream trip to Hawaii this summer may want to reconsider the sunscreen they pack.

Hawaii has banned the future sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, found in at least 70 percent of sunscreens. Research has shown the two chemicals are contributing to the destruction of coral reefs around the Pacific islands.

The ban, which will take effect in 2021, doesn’t bar visitors from bringing their own sunscreen. That means families and individuals still have the choice when traveling to Hawaii to see the coral reefs whether they will help save these valuable ecosystems or not.

Dallin Reber, a 22-year-old BYU student from St. George, has vacationed in Hawaii almost every year since he was little and plans to visit again in August. He has seen a deterioration in the coral and marine life at a reef near his grandparents’ home on Oahu. He wants to use reef-safe sunscreen but he has to also weigh the economic cost of making change.

“Especially where I’m a college student, definitely price comes first,” he said.

Research shows Reber’s thinking reflects the majority of consumers. They usually consider price and quality before they consider environmental impact when making purchasing decisions. However, if comparable options exist, consumers will likely switch to the reef-safe sunscreens.

But several groups who opposed the ban passed by the Hawaii Legislature in May, including the Hawaii Medical Association and Consumer Products Healthcare Association, worry there aren’t enough effective, safe options on the market for consumers to switch to.

Sunscreen and coral

The research on the effects of sunscreen chemicals on coral began in the 1990s, and the most recent study was in 2016. It examined the effects of oxybenzone and octinoxate across seven coral species for concentrations down to parts per trillion — that’s one drop in 6 …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News


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