Beyond the safety and effectiveness of sunscreen for humans, there are huge concerns about sunscreen ingredients negatively affecting our oceans, marine life, and coral reefs. Chemical ingredients, including oxybenzone and avobenzone, decrease corals’ ability to defend themselves against bleaching, causes deformities, and DNA damage. A 2015 study showed that the equivalent of just one drop of oxybenzone in six Olympic-sized swimming pools is enough to cause serious damage to corals. Concentrations more than 10x that amount have been measured at some of Hawaii’s most popular beaches. Talk about the potential for detrimental damage to our precious reef systems!
Some other damaging chemicals commonly found in sunscreens include octocrylene, octinoxate, and octisalate. To protect their precious marine & coral ecosystems, many travel destinations have passed bans on the sale and use of sunscreen containing certain chemicals.