From Banana Boat to Coppertone, big sunbags must soon change their products or stop selling them in Hawaii.
Government legislators approved the legislation in May that would prohibit skin care companies from selling and distributing sunscreen on the islands containing two chemicals that are considered coral reefs. The bill opposed various companies and business associations, as well as some dermatologists, who are worried that the prohibition could discourage people from wearing sun protection at all.
But Gov. David Ige (D) signed the bill on Tuesday and made Hawaii the first license to adopt legislation aimed at protecting marine ecosystems by prohibiting such sunscreen products.
The prohibition ̵
"Studies have documented the negative effects of these chemicals on corals and other marine life," says Ige. in a statement. "Our natural environment is fragile, and our own interaction with the earth can have lasting consequences. This new law is just a step towards protecting the health and elasticity of the Hawaii coral reef."
State Secretary Chris Lee (D) said in a statement that "In my lifetime, our planet has lost about half of the coral reef. We must take action to protect the other half as well as we can, because we know that time is against us."
According to Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History coral reefs are crucial for marine and human life.
In addition to protecting sea creatures, Smithsonian said that the reef provides jobs worth $ 30 billion to $ 172 billion a year, including food, medicine and tourism.
"Unfortunately, humans also represent the greatest threat to coral reefs," according to Smithsonian. "Overfishing and destructive fishing, pollution, warming, altered marine chemistry and invasive species all take a huge toll. In some places, the reef has been completely destroyed, and in many places reefs today are a pale shadow of what they once were."  Environmental organizations claim that some sunscreen – any research that has shown can rinse away from the skin to the water while swimming or bathing – may be toxic to coral reefs.
"The legislature also states that environmental pollution of oxibensone and octinoxate remains in Hawaii's coastal waters, as pollution is constantly updated and renewed by swimmers and beachgoers every day," according to the bill.
Star Advertiser reported that the law opposed the ABC Stores, the Hawaii Medical Association, the Hawaii Food Industry Association, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, the Personal Care Products Council and Bayer, which manufactures sunscreen products by Coppertone.
Jay Sirois, Head of Regulatory Responsibility for a Association representing Sunscreen Manufacturers, recently told the NPR: "We're taking King A Product or Products … which has been shown to be safe and effective" against the harmful effects of the sun.
Bayer said in a statement in May that the company intends to comply with the legislation, but "eliminating the use of sunscreen ingredients that are considered safe and effective by the FDA with a long history of use not only limits the choices of consumers but also contradicts with preventive measures for skin cancer. What has been scientifically proven is that exposure to UV radiation from the sun causes skin cancer. And sunscreen is one of the most effective ways to protect you from UV exposure, in addition to wearing protective clothing, sunglasses and stopping in the shade. "
Edgewell Personal Care, which manufactures banana boat and Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen, said at the time that some of its products are already available without oxybenzone and octinoxate.
"Some of our products contain FDA-approved amounts of oxybenzone and octinoxate, active ingredients designed to protect the skin against harmful effects of ultraviolet light and provide critical broad spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays." The ingredients in Our products are clearly listed in the active ingredients on the label so that consumers can make informed purchase decisions. As always, we will continue to ensure that we comply with all relevant provisions regarding oxibenzone and octinoxate. Johnson & Johnson, who owns Neutrogena, agreed with the position of its trade organization, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. The association said that "the health, safety and well-being of millions of Hawaiian residents and tourists has been harmed by SB 2571, which aims to ban "at least 70 percent of sunscreen products on the market today, based on weak science that blames sunscreens for coral reef damage. "
" Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that excess sun exposure without effective sunscreen enhances the risk of developing skin cancer in both adults and children, "the association said in a statement in May." Banning oxybenzone and octinoxate – important ingredients in effective sunscreen products on the market – drastically and unnecessarily reduce the choice of safe and effective sunscreens available to residents and visitors. Oxybenzone and octinoxate, contained in most sunscreen products, are safe and effective active ingredients (OTC), which are characterized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as essential tools to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States. "