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Coral-friendly sun care and what Hawaiian reef law is all about

As of January 2021, certain sunscreens are no longer allowed in Hawaii because they contribute to coral death. What does that mean and does it have consequences for our sun protection in Europe 

No question about it: when the sun is shining, we have to protect our skin. Above all because we can do without skin cancer. But also because our skin should stay young for a long time and not like a leather bag.

The common means of sun protection are clear:

  • Avoid the sun stay indoors) 
  • To be in the shade
  • wear clothing
  • And of course: use sunscreen chemically or minerally) 

Sun cream or sun lotion are particularly effective because they keep the ultraviolet rays of the sun away from our skin: The chemical sun creams convert the rays into heat, the mineral ones reflect them away from the skin.

What protects our skin from the sun can harm the environment

Maybe you already saw it in our post about theDifferences in sunscreens and sun protection factors read: Many sun creams are under strong suspicion of harming nature.

The US state of Hawaii therefore passed a law in 2018 that bans sunscreens containing oxybenzone and / or octinoxate from January 1, 2021.

Oxybenzone Benzophenone-3 and Octinoxate Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate are excellent UV filters in sunscreens. However, scientists see them as the reason whyass 

  1. the genetic make-up of aquatic life is damaged and
  2. thatCoral reefs bleach and die.

The consequences can be enormous:

Coral reefs are also called rainforests of the seas because of their impressive biodiversity. Countless animals have the reefs as home and are dependent on them. For this reason alone, they are worth protecting. And what's more: They help ensure that the oceans do not hit the land unchecked. The lack of reefs on the coasts can have devastating consequences.

In short: When coral reefs die, this endangers biodiversity, but also the safety on the mainland.

The Hawaii Reef Act is, in our opinion, a sensible and actually already overdue step, if we look at the statement by Craig Downs of the Haereticus laboratory in Virginia:

„These chemicals are now found everywhere in nature, from the Arctic to remote coral reefs in the South Pacific. They are found in dolphins, wild bird eggs, many of the fish we eat, and in corals. 

How can that be 

It is estimated that it is a full 14,000 tons annually! of sunscreen that ends up in the sea. The tourist vacation destinations are hit particularly hard: 9 million people visit Hawaii every year, which is particularly damaging. On the island of Maui, it is an extrapolated 210 liters of sunscreen a day. Researcher Craig Downs predicts that there will soon be no more living coral reefs in Hawaii for tourists to visit.n.“ 

What about the environmental damage caused by sun creams in Germany? 

No big surprise: here in Germany, too, researchers were able to detect the UV filters oxybenzone and octinoxate in the waters. That is also the reason why the Federal Environment Agency is dealing with the issue as a precaution.

According to the current status, the concentrations areyet not that high. Federal Environment Agency expert Jürgen Arning does not yet see an acute threat to the life of the fish in German waters. But that is no reason to give the all-clear: there is no comprehensive control and the long-term consequences are not clear either.

Do you also think that it is better to be safe than sorry and that sunscreen should be umwelt and coral-friendly? Then read on:: 

Where can you find eco-friendly and coral-friendly sunscreens 

Basically it would be super easy:

Only buy sunscreens, the oxybenzone, or octinoxateNot contain.

The INCI names are: Benzophenone-3 and Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate.

But it's not that simple:

We recently started looking in the drugstore with the Codecheck app in hand. We looked at various sun creams, checked for the critical substances oxybenzone and octinoxate, and examined other questionable ingredients. 

Conclusion: it doesn't look good.

There are a few products for sun protection that are coral-friendly and contain neither oxybenzone nor octinoxate. When we checked these products with a code check, there were often ingredients in the program that we would not let on our skin or into the environment. Including bad oneshte“ Alcohols or parabens as well as occasionallyBHT.

That gave us food for thought!

Finding a sunscreen that is good for your skin shouldn't be a big challengeand is environmentally friendly. Not finding one with a simple search in the drug store was reason enough for us to take matters into our own hands:

We are currently working in our laboratory on a new formula for a sunscreen that cares for your skin, protects it from the sun and is harmless to nature. At this point, we cannot say when exactly the time will come.

Subscribe to our newsletter here, follow us on Instagram or Facebook, so that we can let you know about sober new UV protection.

We'll get back to you with good news! #staysober

Simon

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