Hawaii & Alaska
Cory Lum / Honolulu Civil Beat

HI - Hawaii Shouldn't Wait To Ban Harmful Chemical Sunscreens

House leaders need to hear Senate Bill 132, which would prohibit sales of avobenzone and octocrylene.

There is another big sunscreen issue in Hawaii, and this one needs immediate action.

Although two harmful chemical sunscreens have already been banned in the state, there is strong scientific evidence that two more are harmful to both human health and coral reefs. In fact, mounting research suggests that these two chemicals, avobenzone and octocrylene, are life-threatening to Hawaii’s reefs and are bad for people, including our keiki.

Neither the coral reefs nor the children can speak up to protect themselves from these toxic chemicals. But some people have: a group of 50 organizations, businesses, individuals, and eminent scientists, representing more than 1,000 constituents and concerned citizens, submitted testimony and evidence supporting a bill to ban these harmful chemicals in Hawaii.

The evidence against avobenzone and octocrylene was so strong that Senate Bill 132 passed the Hawaii Senate and one House Committee unanimously. Unanimously.

Now, shockingly, a second House committee has killed the bill by not allowing it to go forward to a hearing. This committee, Consumer Protection and Commerce, chose to ignore the overwhelming evidence against the safety and effectiveness of these chemicals. It chose to ignore the immediate and irreversible threat to our coral reefs. It chose to ignore the voices of Hawaii’s residents as they sought to protect their environment, their health, and their children.

The dangers of sunscreen chemicals are well recognized around the world. They are reef toxins that irreversibly interfere with the life cycles of Hawaii’s marine life including corals, algae, fish, shellfish, sea urchins, and marine mammals.

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