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Sunscreen Ban in Hawaii

By: Sarah Calder, Regulatory Affairs Specialist, email

On May 1, 2018 a bill was passed in the State of Hawaii legislature to ban the common ingredients found in many cosmetics and sunscreens products around the world, oxybenzone and octinoxate.  The ban has come in reaction to the historic rate of deterioration of coral reefs in the ocean waters of Hawaii, and a variety of scientific research suggesting that these chemicals are causing coral reef destruction in the form of deformity, bleaching, and DNA damage.

Despite the strong push back from a variety of organizations including cosmetic corporations, and failed attempts from other groups to impose this ban, cosmetic companies are reacting by formulating reef-friendly and biodegradable sunscreens which are already appearing in the marketplace.

If and when the bill is signed into law, it will come into effect January 1st, 2021, Hawaii being the first and only to impose such a ban in the U.S.  Since there are growing concerns over the weakening of coral reef in multiple regions, our questions is, will other states or countries follow suit and how soon?


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