Hawaii Governor David Ige Signs Sunscreen Ban

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Ige is expected to sign a bill restricting the sale and distribution of sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate.

The bill, SB 2571, states that the chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, "have significant harmful impacts on Hawaii's marine environment and residing ecosystems".

Come 2021, Hawaii beachgoers will have to furnish a doctor's prescription for sunscreen labels containing oxybenzone and octinoxate in order to purchase them in the state.

Oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are in most sunscreen products, are believed by scientists to be toxic to coral reefs.

"So, Hawaii is definitely on the cutting edge by banning these unsafe chemicals in sunscreens", Gabbard said in an email to the newspaper.

During the signing ceremony, Ige said the state also needs to fight invasive species, pollution from land runoff and climate change to protect the reefs.

The Star-Advertiser reported that the proposed law, which would go into effect in 2021, was opposed by ABC Stores, the Hawaii Medical Association, the Hawaii Food Industry Association, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, the Personal Care Products Council and Bayer, which manufactures sunscreens by Coppertone.

Sunscreens containing minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide reflect the sun's rays away from skin and are a good alternative to chemicals that could be harmful to ocean reefs.

Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment, and the man responsible for introducing the legislation, hailed it as the gold standard for the world to follow.

Leaders need to act quickly to save what coral world has left, he said.

"This irresponsible action will make it more hard for families to protect themselves against the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays", the Consumer Healthcare Products Association said in a statement. However, critics say there is not enough evidence to support the claim that the chemicals are bad for coral reefs.

This law does not include products marketed or intended for use as a cosmetic.

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