Sunscreen is helping kill coral reefs around the world, especially in Hawaii, according to a new study published Tuesday.
A team of marine scientists has found that a common chemical found in sunscreen lotions and other cosmetic products — oxybenzone — poses “an ecological and existential threat to corals and coral reefs,” according to a release from the non-profit Haereticus Environmental Laboratory.
Seawater testing discovered concentrations of the ingredient, which is found in over 3,500 sunscreen products, were 12 times higher in Hawaii and the Caribbean, Reuters reported.
“This study raises our awareness of a seldom realized threat to the health of our reef life at Napili Bay: chemicals in the sunscreen products visitors and residents wear are toxic to young corals,” said Pat Lindquist, executive director of the Napili Bay and Beach Foundation of Maui, said in the release.
“This knowledge is critical to us as we consider actions to mitigate threats or improve on current practices,” Lindquist said. “We hope to promote more use of sun-protective swimwear which will benefit our reefs and bay, and have plans to investigate best options in the coming year.”
A new study has found that swimming in the ocean after applying many types of sunscreen can kill corals.
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