Hawaii Likely to Ban Certain Sunscreens Containing Chemicals Damaging to Coral Reefs
Hawaii has long been an idyllic destination, with its “Paradise of the Pacific” nickname serving as support for its numerous amenities. Cares melt away, we hear, when the 50th state’s surplus sunshine greets visitors. But, according to a 2016 Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology study, said vacationers and residents are leaving behind much more than their worries—namely, overwhelming amounts of chemicals found in certain sunscreens, which can wash off in the ocean and damage coral reefs. As such, Hawaii could be three years away from banning sunscreens containing those chemicals, initiating commercial changes for promotional products distributors.
The state legislature yesterday poised Hawaii to become the first state to ban the sale and distribution of goods containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, with governor David Ige to tackle the matter next. His approval of the bill would commence the crackdown Jan. 1, 2021 as a state measure to halt the chemicals’ deleterious effects on coral reefs and marine life. BuzzFeed noted that the duo, per scientific input, leaches the ecosystems of their nutrients and hampers the maturation of ocean occupants such as algae and sea urchins.
Numbers, in any context, can prove quite relative, but someone does not need to be a marine biologist to appreciate the staggering annual amount of sunscreen lotion—14,000 tons—that ends up in the global haul of coral reefs. Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands are among the biggest culprits because of their status as tourist havens, thus compelling legislators in the former destination to call for reform. Based on a 2017 Haereticus Environmental Laboratory report, the timing, it appears, is perfect, as researchers determined that the snorkeling hotspot Hanauma Bay’s average visitors—totaling nearly 2,600 people—deposited almost 412 pounds of sunscreen into the Pacific. What, therefore, would Ige’s approval mean for promo?
As BuzzFeed mentions, the offending chemicals are essentially ubiquitous sunscreen components and often make their way into face lotions, too. For promotional products distributors, the likely ban would find them engaging in outreach to Hawaii-headquartered clients to make sure they call on oxybenzone- and octinoxate-free sunscreens for relevant promotions.
We all know how hard change can be, and we hope (now that the countdown to Memorial Day and the summer have kicked off in earnest) that all of you are making good on your new year’s resolutions to look good on the beach. With that aspiration in mind and with the fate of coral reefs and oceanic life certainly worthy of more consideration, this legislative push makes perfect sense for solidifying guiltless enjoyment of a journey to Hawaii.
— Mike Gabbard (@SENMIKEGABBARD) May 2, 2018
"Amazingly, this is a first-in-the-world law," state senator Mike Gabbard, who introduced the measure, told the Honolulu Star Advertiser. "So, 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. This will make a huge difference in protecting our coral reefs, marine life and human health."
Based on his assertion, Ige’s probable agreement with the bill and other compelling calls to tend to environmental matters swiftly and considerately, what is your reaction to Hawaii’s role in protecting the Pacific Ocean? What effects will the likely limitation have on your business, too?