The state of Hawaii has just voted to ban sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals known to be harmful to reefs. If the governor signs the ban into law, it will be illegal to sell sunscreens with these products in Hawaii.
Coppertone and other sunscreen manufacturers should take this as an opportunity, not a burden. Now is their chance to be innovative with reef-safe products that don't contain these harmful chemicals. Eliminating microplastics, parabens, and other ingredients known to be hazards to ocean health is an important step too. We all care about sun protection, but not at the cost of the environment.
Hawaii may be the first, but it likely won't be the last. Commercial sunscreens that provide excellent protection and coverage without hurting the ocean are available, but a large brand like Coppertone could lead by example, as it has done in the sun protection industry for over 70 years. Instead of relying on old standbys, Coppertone could develop new ingredients and drive a sea change in skin care, making its entire line of products reef-safe; so that no matter where in the world you are, you can enjoy the sun without harming the environment.
Coppertone's parent company, Bayer, says it continuously works to "develop product solutions that benefit the environment." It's time for Bayer to live up to its promises of corporate responsibility and stop selling products that it knows are contributing to coral bleaching and the deaths of marine vertebrates.
Tell Bayer to change Coppertone's ingredients and go reef-safe, before it's too late!
Photo credit: Skeyndor