Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Hawaii becomes first state to ban certain suncreens

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Theresa Hayes | 07 July, 2018, 04:54

Hawaii's new law won't come into effect until 2021, but the company are in discussions with lawmakers in other U.S. states, hotels and tourism boards about banning the chemicals elsewhere.

From Banana Boat to Coppertone, major sunscreen brands will soon have to revamp their products or stop selling them in Hawaii.

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.

There's plenty of push back from the sunblock industry and even some dermatologists, who worry that the ban may discourage people from using sunscreen, thus increasing the risk of skin cancer.

The bill, SB 2571, states that the chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, "have significant harmful impacts on Hawaii's marine environment and residing ecosystems".

During the signing ceremony, Ige said the state also needs to fight invasive species, pollution from land runoff and climate change to protect the reefs. The ban will not be applied to medically prescribed sunscreens or makeup that contain oxybenzone or octinoxate.

"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.

State Sen. Mike Gabbard (D), who sponsored the bill, said when lawmakers passed the measure that Hawaii is "on the cutting edge". "This will make a huge difference in protecting our coral reefs, marine life, and human health". The prohibition takes effect in 2021. Ige also felt that the delayed effective date would provide ample time for sunscreen manufacturers to create and produce new formulations free from chemicals harmful to the reefs.

"This irresponsible action will make it more hard for families to protect themselves against the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays", the Consumer Healthcare Products Association said in a statement.

Ige signed the bill Tuesday but the law doesn't take effect on the islands until January 1, 2021.