Bill OK’d against sunscreens that pose danger to coral
Sunscreens containing chemicals harmful to corals would be banned in Maui County under a bill passed Monday by a County Council committee.
The bill, which is headed for the full Council, would prohibit the sale and use of sunscreen carrying oxybenzone and octinoxate, the Maui News reports.
“I think it’s really about time,” Council Vice Chairman Bob Carroll said. “It’s something that we need to have done, and the sooner we do have this in effect, it gives our ocean and our fish and our limu a chance to recover and prosper.”
During this year’s legislative session, state Sen. Will Espero (D, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) introduced a measure that would have banned products with the same chemicals. However, Senate Bill 1150 stalled in conference committee.
If passed, Maui County’s ban would be the first in the country, said Joe DiNardo, a retired scientist and toxicologist from Virginia who gave a presentation to the Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee on Monday.
Oxybenzone and octinoxate can be found in a range of materials, from plastic bottles to printing inks, and are popular in the manufacture of sunscreen. But scientists say the two chemicals can lower the resiliency of coral reefs to bleaching and can affect the development and endocrine systems of fish.