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Toss out your toxic sunblock and swap it for eco-friendly sunscreens that are biodegradable and safe for our reefs. We’re talking all things eco this World Oceans Day!

As a child, a summer holiday wouldn’t be the same without your mother trying to pin you down before your first cannonball into the pool to slather you like a ghost in sunscreen. I think we can all agree it’s still the least exciting part of any hot climate holiday, but never the less, a very important part of protecting our skin from the sun. Sadly, though, our sunscreen habits and choices are posing a dangerous threat to marine life.

In the last 10 years, it has become apparent that, as well as global warming and excessive use of plastic, our corals are absorbing certain chemicals in our sunscreen which causes destructive erosion and the inability for corals to repair and reproduce.

Craig Downs, Ph.D a forensic ecotoxicologist and director or Haereticus Environmental Laboratory has been researching the damaging effects of sunscreen on our marine life for the past 12 years and has devoted his time to spreading the devastating message to inspire change. His studies point to oxybenzone as the main culprit (amongst others) behind this worldwide issue. The awful truth is that once coral bleaches, there’s no saving it. It’s gone forever. With the recent news that a huge chunk of the Great Barrier Reef has been officially classified as dead, it’s really important that people are educated on natural sunscreen brands that don’t harm our oceans.

Hawaii has become the first state to ban all sunscreens that contain harmful ingredients to coral and marine wildlife and, hopefully, other states and cities across the world will follow suit.

What sunscreen can I use that is safe for our oceans?
Digging through the vast quantities of sunscreen brands can be a daunting task. The main ingredients you’ll want to avoid is oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene. Below we’ve suggested the best natural sunscreens to opt for….

 

words by Molly Jennings

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