Coral Reef Protection Law: Hawaii Bans Two Ingredients

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Some specific UV filters in commercially available sun creams, for example Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3) and Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate), are suspected of damaging coral reefs.

An underwater view of a beautiful coral reef

In response to this research, the US state of Hawaii passed a law prohibiting the sale of sunscreen products containing the UV filters Oxybenzone and Octinoxate. The law came into force on January 1, 2021. Since then, sunscreen products containing these ingredients are prohibited from sale in Hawaii.

Which Eucerin sunscreen products comply with the current version of the Hawaii Reef Bill?

All sunscreen products from Eucerin comply with the current version of the Hawaii Reef Bill, as none of the 100+ Eucerin cosmetic products contain the UV filters Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate) or Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3).

Why was Oxybenzone banned in Hawaii?

Research indicates that Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3) can damage coral reefs, and at sufficiently high concentrations it can lead to coral bleaching or coral death.

Why was Octinoxate banned in Hawaii?

The studies on Octinoxate are less advanced than those for Oxybenzone. But since the mechanism could be similar to that of Oxybenzone, the sale of products with the UV filter Octinoxate was also prohibited by Hawaiian law. The studies on the possible negative effects on coral reefs are still in the early stages.

What function do UV filters have in sunscreen products?

UV filters absorb or reflect harmful UV light from the sun. Thus, they give the products the so-called sun protection factor. At Eucerin, we use a combination of different UV filters to ensure reliably high protection over the entire UV range. The combination of UV filters is designed to achieve the right balance between UVA and UVB protection, water- resistance, and the respective sensory properties.

Want to support coral protection?

  1. Do not wait until vacation starts, but get ready before. Choose a hotel that operates sustainably – with waste avoidance, resource-saving operations, waste-water treatment, etc.

  2. Avoiding generating waste on vacation. For example, take a reusable water bottle instead of a disposable one to the beach and dispense with plastic packaging where possible.

  3. Enjoy environmentally friendly activities. If you want to take a diving class, find an operator that supports the conservation of marine flora and fauna. Serious operators can prove this with a certificate.

  4. When diving or snorkeling, celebrate and respect nature. Do not touch corals or feed the sea creatures.

  5. Choose your souvenirs well. Often souvenirs made of corals, shells, or snails are on offer. Do not buy them, as they are often not found washed up on the beach but instead taken illegally from the reef.

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