Hawaii bans sale of sunscreens with coral-harming chemicals

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The new law prohibits counties from restricting either chemical until the state ban becomes effective on January 2, 2021.

From Banana Boat to Coppertone, major sunscreen brands will soon have to revamp their products or stop selling them in Hawaii. Used widely in sunscreens as well as other cosmetic ointments, the chemical is banned in the European Union.

Hawaii will become the first state to restrict the sale and distribution of sunscreen containing chemicals that can damage the coral reefs after Governor David Ige signs legislation later this week.

The bill is opposed by various companies and business associations and some dermatologists, who worry that the ban may discourage people from wearing sunscreen-a proven defense from exposure to UV radiation from the sun, which can cause skin cancer.

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Hawaii may set a trend, when it comes to potentially harmful suncreens.

State Rep. Mike Gabbard (D) touted the law as a "first-in-the-world" measure when it passed the state legislature in May.

"In my lifetime, our planet has lost about half its coral reefs", he said.

According to some estimates, a third of the world's coral reef has died in the past three years, others say half has gone in the past 30 years.

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Come 2021, Hawaii beachgoers will have to furnish a doctor's prescription for sunscreen labels containing oxybenzone and octinoxate in order to purchase them in the state. The prohibition takes effect in 2021.

Tuesday's signing makes Hawaii the first US state to enact a ban on oxybenzone and octinoxate. Jay Sirois, director of regulatory affairs for an association that represents sunscreen manufacturers, recently told NPR: "We're taking away a product, or products. that have been shown over the course of time to be safe and effective" against the harmful effects of the sun.

"This irresponsible action will make it more hard for families to protect themselves against the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays", the Consumer Healthcare Products Association said in a statement.

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