What is Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, and Where Are They Found?
Oxybenzone & Octinoxate are chemicals that are typically found in sunscreens. Hawaii recently passed a bill prohibiting the sale and distribution of these two chemicals in sunscreens in their state.
Why is Oxybenzone and Octinoxate Bad?
“Oxybenzone and octinoxate cause mortality in developing coral; increase coral bleaching that indicates extreme stress, even at temperatures below 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit; and cause genetic damage to coral and other marine organisms. These chemicals have also been shown to degrade corals’ resiliency and ability to adjust to climate change factors and inhibit recruitment of new corals. Furthermore, oxybenzone and octinoxate appear to increase the probability of endocrine disruption.” (source)
This affects a wide variety of marine animals, from fish and sea turtles, all the way to marine predators at the top of the food chain. It affects many species, from the critically endangered to the conservation dependent.
What Should I Do?
The good news is that there are plenty of sunscreens available on the market without these two ingredients! We recommend avoiding sunscreens with these ingredients entirely, in order to opt for products that are more choral reef friendly.