Hawaii just passed a bill banning over 3,500 sunscreen products, which kill coral reefs


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/03/hawaii-just-passed-a-bill-bann.html


As a Hawaii resident, I’d like to offer a pre-emptive “suck it!” to all the free market conservative peaches who will cry foul over this, or try to claim this will cause skin cancer rates to skyrocket.

The world needs more simple solutions like this, and fast.


…and vernal pools (and not just sunscreen). I didn’t know about them until last spring, when I chaperoned (part of) a week-long field trip.


I wonder how many tourists bring sunscreen with them. This is one of those situations where you hope people are disorganized.


So I assume there are alternative ingredients available that serve the same purpose? Or are these completely unnecessary components of sunscreen?

I don’t know much about this sort of stuff. My sunscreen is the roof over my head. Works well.


There are certainly fibers that do.


Although my skin is best suited to a castle in Transylvania, I hope Costco will stop selling Neutrogena Beach Defense (SPF 70). I think the stuff without oxybenzone can’t protect as much, but also think that’s on me to apply the reef friendly stuff more often and wear hats and sleeves.


In one sense it is a first, though in a broader sense it’s similar to the foreign vegetation laws that make you check your produce and clean weeds off your outboard prop before crossing state/national boundaries.


Ah I see the sun-shamers are out (“bundle up! Wear hats and burkas and you don’t need sunscreen! snark”)

The main alternative for the banned sunscreens will be those with titanium dioxide in nano particles, which is a crapshoot in terms of its environmental friendliness, certainly.

And then there are all sorts of “safe” sunscreen that sort of work, sort of don’t.

And then there is staying inside or bundling up!

I’d never heard about these ingredients harming coral reefs; hopefully there’s an easy solution and they can be removed. Most formulas contain several sunscreen chemicals, and those particular two might not be missed.


I read on a medical blog that the biggest voice of resistance isn’t the manufacturers–who sell multiple fomulations and really won’t suffer from this–but from doctors who question the studies behind the assertion that the chemicals are hamful and (as the Hawaii’an resident above tried to immunize from) that the expected increase in skin cancer should also be considered.


Or get a base tan so you won’t need sunscreen.


I don’t have that level of confidence in the ozone layer. I use sunscreen no matter how tan I get.


That’s easy to fix. Read more widely.


So, I assume there are sun screens that DON’T use those chemicals?

If not, I assume there is now motivation to produce one. And of course, one can now charge a premium for the “special” sun screen.


Some people (like myself) are pale enough that they’re going to need a sunscreen no matter what, if they go to Hawaii or elsewhere in the tropics.


This. You can cover up almost completely but if you are out on the ocean, reflections from the water surface will hit you square in the face.


You mean venture outside of BoingBoing? Never!


“Shame” seems to be an idea that was first introduced into the conversation by you. Regardless, it’s not a big mystery how to protect yourself from the sun, as people have been doing it for thousands of years.


Yes, sunscreens containing zinc oxide are a common and good alternative. I was recently in Hawaii and knew of this issue so I chose to wear a rash guard for most of my sun protection and used zinc oxide on my neck and face. Unlike my previous trips there I didn’t even get a small sunburn.


“Shame” seems to be an idea that was first introduced into the conversation by you.

Fair enough, but sunscreen discussions tend to bring out a lot of people with the solution “don’t go out in the sun” or “just wear clothes” followed by lots of anti-sun propaganda and yes, shaming of people who like to be out in the sun in a less-than-bundled-up state.

For all but the last 50-some years the ozone layer was adequate to protect us. Now that’s not the case. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to be able to enjoy the sun, as people have for thousands of years, but we might need the aid of sunscreen to do so, in addition to our skin’s natural ability to darken as necessary and/or our ability to make clothes.

(please excuse the multi-quote fail)