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Sunscreens Cause Coral Bleaching

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When swimming, some sunscreen can wash off your body into the surrounding waters, potentially affecting marine life

A 2008 scientific study showed that some commonly used chemical sunscreen ingredients cause coral bleaching.

  • Each year between 4000-6000 metric tons (4400-6600 US tons) of sunscreen washes off swimmers and snorkelers into coral reef environments.
  • Four common sunscreen ingredients were shown to cause complete coral bleaching at very low concentrations. They are:
    • Oxybenzone (benzophenone-3) – Sunscreen with several suspected human Health effects.
    • Butylparaben – Preservative with several suspected human health effects.
    • Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate) – Sunscreen with several suspected human health effects.
    • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4MBC) – Sunscreen with several suspected human health effects. Allowed in Europe and Canada, not in USA or Japan.
  • Up to 10% of the world’s coral reefs may be threatened by sunscreen induced coral bleaching.

Protecting your skin when swimming and snorkeling is vital.
Chemical sunscreens are not only bad news for coral but must be applied 20 minutes before going in the sun, reapplied EVERY 2 hours, (more often after swimming and toweling off) but many do not protect against UVA rays.
Instead wear sun protective clothing with a 30+UPF or higher. A regular white T shirt may give only a 15 UPF and this is further reduced when wet.

Sun protection shirts, swimsuits and sleeves are made with fabrics that keep their sun protection even when wet. They give instant, chemical free sun protection you never have to reapply.

Treat your sun protection clothing gently and it will protect your skin for years, saving you time, money, as well as helping to protect you from skin cancer and coral reefs from extinction!

Sunscreens Cause Coral Bleaching by Promoting Viral Infections, was published in the peer reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives in 2008, Roberto Danovaro and his colleagues at the Marche Polytechnic University in Ancona, Italy.

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