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Sunscreens Harm Coral Reefs

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Officials in Hawaii, USA are working towards a ban on the sale and distribution of certain sunscreens by January 2021. Sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate are said to bleach, deform and damage the DNA and even cause the death of coral reefs.

When the sunscreen gets washed off, or is discharged into wastewater treatment plants, it gets deposited into water bodies. Craig Downs, a forensic ecotoxicologist, executive director of Haereticus Environmental Laboratory and the lead author of the study that drove Hawaii to ban these ingredients, said that extremely high levels of the chemicals have been found in fishes, sea turtle eggs, algae, oysters, mussels, humans and even in breast milk. The alternative is to use sunscreens that contain ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
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