Hawaii to ban sale of sunscreen containing chemicals damaging to coral reefs

Hawaii will become the first state to restrict the sale and distribution of sunscreen containing chemicals that can damage the coral reefs after Governor David Ige signs legislation later this week. 

Ige is expected to sign a bill restricting the sale and distribution of sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Senator Mike Gabbard, who first introduced the bill, labeled SB 271, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that “Hawaii is definitely on the cutting edge by banning these dangerous chemicals in sunscreens. When you think about it, our island paradise, surrounded by coral reefs, is the perfect place to set the gold standard for the world to follow.”

Although the law will not take effect until 2021, it has already been opposed by “ABC Stores, the Hawaii Medical Association, Hawaii Food Industry Association, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and Personal Care Products Council, as well as Bayer, which manufactures Coppertone sunscreens," according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

A recent statement by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association argued that SB 2571 will restrict the sale of at least 70 percent of sunscreens on the market.

“This irresponsible action will make it more difficult for families to protect themselves against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, and it is contrary to the many concerns expressed by Hawaii’s medical doctors, dermatologists, and public health experts,” the association argued.

However, despite continued opposition, many manufacturers have said that they'll begin conforming product lines to "protect paradise," and comply with the new law.

Edgewell Personal Care, which makes Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen lotions, said it currently makes products free of the two chemicals and "will continue to ensure we comply with all relevant regulations concerning oxybenzone and octinoxate."