Morro Bay, CA (November 9, 2018)—The tiny island chain of Palau, located in the western Pacific, set off tsunami waves in corporate headquarters around the world when it banned ingredients in sunscreens that are killing its world-renowned coral reefs.
Major international corporations, including Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal and Bayer, manufacture products made with those ingredients and are challenged by educated consumers who refuse to use ingredients that have been proven toxic to coral reefs at concentrations as low as 62 parts per trillion (or about a drop in 6.5 Olympic-sized swimming pools).
“It’s wonderful to see Palau leading the global charge to protect their pristine reefs from common personal care pollutants,” said Caroline Duell, spokesperson for the U.S.-based . “There are safer, more effective alternatives available – people just need to understand the issues.”
The Palau ban follows a ban on two primary ingredients—Oxybenzone and Octinoxate—in Hawaii but goes a step further, banning ten ingredients that are known to harm fragile coral reefs.
These commonly used ingredients are absorbed through the skin where they capture the sun’s rays – but then turn them into free radicals, which are strongly implicated in sun-related aging. Mineral-based sunscreens made with non-nanoparticles stay on top of the skin, where they reflect the sun’s light back, protecting it from both sunburn and age-related issues, she said.
The Safe Sunscreen Council, established in 2017, is composed of companies who are formulating products specifically to minimize their impact on people and the planet. They include All Good, Babo Botanicals, Badger, Kokua Sun Care, Mama Kuleana, Manda, Raw Elements, Raw Love, Sea & Summit and Stream2Sea.
“Membership in the Safe Sunscreen Council is by invitation only to companies who are committed to not using ingredients that have been shown to harm marine and aquatic ecosystems,” Duell said. “And in many cases, they’re a better choice for people—researchers are questioning their use in humans as well as oceans, because they tend to bio-accumulate.”
As other countries—particularly those with economies based on tourism and subsistence fishing—begin following Palau’s lead, even large international corporations can step forward and find alternatives to toxic chemicals, Duell said. “Yes, they’re more complicated to formulate and more expensive to manufacture, but the government of Palau has shown that ocean-friendly sunscreens are an economically feasible option.”
Source: Safe Sunscreen Council, http.