Recent scientific research is showing that our oceans and precious marine life are being harmed and even destroyed by two common commercial sunscreen chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate.
What the hell is oxybenzone and octinoxate anyway?
These tricky to spell words are a chemical filter commonly used in commercial sunscreens as a means to filter out UVA and UVB rays to provide broad spectrum UV coverage.
Why is oxybenzone and octinoxate so harmful?
These guys are organic compounds that acts as a hormone disruptor. They are easily absorbed by the skin. Octinoxate has been detected in human blood, urine and breast milk. Yuck!
How does it harm marine life?
In short, it effects coral reef systems in a number of ways.
- Coral bleaching occurs at lower temperatures than normal when exposed to these two filters which means that with global warming and the oceans temperatures an issue, these nasty chemicals are speeding up the process of destroying coral reef systems.
- It damages the DNA of coral and affects their ability to reproduce. If they manage to reproduce they are not vigorous or healthy and often mutated.
- It makes the juvenile coral produce too much calcium carbonate and they end up locked inside their own skeleton which means death!
- It deforms baby coral and they stop swimming.
How much is too much?
It only takes as little as one drop in the area of over 6 Olympic pools to have an affect! So imagine the effect of hundreds of bodies at popular swimming, diving and surfing destinations. International studies have found oxybenzone has been found in the highest concentration in coral reefs that were most popular with tourists. Think, Ningaloo and The Great Barrier Reef here in Oz!
***UPDATE**** May 2018
Breaking news! Hawaii state legislative has passed a bill to ban sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. When will Australia follow? Until it does, make sure you choose sunscreen products that are reef friendly. Yep, we tick that box here at Feel Good!