A Drop In The Ocean, A Change In The Coral?
What's Going On?
Certain types of sunscreen could soon be banned in Hawaii as government officials vote to ban products containing Oxybenzone next Tuesday.
Research shows Oxybenzone found in many sunscreens, particularly the spray-on-types, has a particularly negative effect on the world's coral reefs
What Does This Mean?
We all know Benzophenone-3 (BP-3; Oxybenzone) is great at protecting skin against the damaging effects of ultraviolet light...right? But, it turns out it is also playing havoc with the marine environment when we swim in the sea.
Oxybenzone is a skeletal endocrine disruptor; it induces ossification of the planula, encasing the entire planula in its own skeleton.
Or in English...Oxybenzone messes up reproduction and growth, leaving young coral fatally deformed.
Why Should We Care?
This isn’t the only thing that’s messing up the coral reefs - compared with rising sea temperatures and plastic pollution, a little sunscreen may seem like a drop in the ocean.
But it only takes about a drop of oxybenzone in six-and-a-half Olympic swimming pools to damage coral.
In the most recent global coral bleaching event (one cause being pollution from sunscreen and the other cosmetics), 93% of the Great Barrier Reef was affected. Some of that coral has taken as long as 50 million years to grow - so scientists think that once they die, we won’t see coral reefs again in our lifetime.
Bye bye Dory 😢
The ingredients lists on sunscreens are packed full of jargon and can only be fully understood if you have a degree in cosmetic science!
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