Sunscreen could be killing the world's coral reefs, study says

Sunscreen could be killing the world's coral reefs, study says

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Could sunscreen be killing the Earth’s coral reefs? According to this recent article in the Huffington Post, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has raised concerns about a global coral bleaching event.  Although climate change and El Nino have been both been cited as culprits for an international mass die-off of coral, a recent study has found the chemical oxybenzone, an ingredient in sunscreen, could be causing more damage than first realized. Experts suggest that even small amounts of oxybenzone can cause massive amounts of damage to coral formations, including effecting DNA in adult reefs and even killing existing coral formations. With more than 3,500 brands of sunscreen worldwide containing the harmful chemical, it is now approximated that 14,000 tons end up in coral reefs annually.  The U.S. National Park Service recommends “reef-friendly” sunscreen made with titanium oxide or zinc oxide and wearing hats and rash guards to protect yourself from the sun.

For more information on quality of life and the environment in our area, visit GulfCoastIndicators.org/Quality-Life/Environment.