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Hawaii Seems Poised To Ban Coral-Damaging Sunscreen

Updated: It would be the first state to prohibit the use of sunscreen containing ingredients that scientists say harm sea life.

Environmental groups and lawmakers gathered Wednesday at the Capitol in support of a bill to ban coral-damaging sunscreens.

Senate Bill 2571 would prohibit the sale of sunscreen with oxybenzone and octinoxate without a prescription. Although coral bleaching is mainly caused by the warming of ocean temperatures and increased ocean acidification, research shows the chemicals can also bleach corals and inhibit the growth of sea life.

The bill is headed next to conference committee, where representatives from both chambers will try to hammer out differences in the versions that have been approved.

Samples of eco-friendly sunscreen were handed out. The stage was decorated with buckets of reef-toxic sunscreen that a group of Kaiser High School students took from Hanauma Bay visitors in exchange for reef-safe sunscreen.

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