Bill OK’d against sun­screens that pose dan­ger to coral

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - LOCAL -

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.

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