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Dying Coral Reefs and Summer Fun: The Sad Reality of Sunscreen Use
June 15, 2017

Dying Coral Reefs and Summer Fun: The Sad Reality of Sunscreen Use

Summer is coming up but before you head to the beach, please check your sunscreen ingredients list: does it contain oxybenzone?

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Researchers1 found that even a single drop of sunscreen containing oxybenzone is enough to damage fragile coral systems.

 

Consider how much sunscreen is recommended for use per body part (2 tablespoon's worth, approximately), then multiply that with the instruction to apply every two hours, and you can begin to have an idea of the magnitude of the issue

Oxybenzone destroys coral reefs by leeching nutrients away, and by poisoning the coral. It can also negatively affect the development of fish and other marine wildlife. Oxybenzone is a common chemical found in all sunscreen formulations, but it is more highly concentrated in the spray-on kind.

At least 80% of the coral reefs in the Caribbean are already bleached, and it’s the same sad story in many popular beaches around the world. We hope that this summer, we can all do our part to do what we can as consumers to preserve the ocean environment.

1 Downs, C. A., Kramarsky-Winter, E., Segal, R., Fauth, J., Knutson, S., Bronstein, O., ... & Pennington, P. (2016). Toxicopathological effects of the sunscreen UV filter, Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3), on coral planulae and cultured primary cells and its environmental contamination in Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands. Archives of environmental contamination and toxicology, 70(2), 265-288.



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