State bans sale of sunscreens with coral-harming chemicals

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Critics say there aren't enough independent scientific studies supporting the assertion that the chemicals harm coral reefs. The legislation, which state lawmakers passed in May, prohibits the sale and distribution of nonprescribed sunscreens that contain oxybenzone or octinoxate, which can be lethal for coral larvae.

Although the law will not take effect till 2021, it has already drawn opposition from various companies and business associations.

Gov. Ige said regarding the bill, "This is just one small step toward protecting and restoring the resiliency of Hawaii's reefs".

The bill to ban them passed in May and Hawaii's governor is expected to sign it later this week. "Our natural environment is fragile, and our own interaction with the earth can have lasting impacts". According to Mother Jones, State Rep. Chris Lee said the measure was necessary to protect the state's remaining corals.

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State Sen. Mike Gabbard said in a statement that, "Worldwide, 50% of our coral reefs were lost in 2014 [and] 2015 because of coral bleaching".

"When you think about it, our island paradise, surrounded by coral reefs, is the flawless place to set the gold standard for the world to follow", he told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. "This legislation is a big step forward for the protection of our coral reefs, marine life and human health".

Up to 70 percent of sunscreens sold on the USA market contain oxybenzone and up to 8 percent contain octinoxate, which often appears on the labels as octyl methoxycinnamate, National Public Radio reported.

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