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Hawaii to ban sunscreens harmful to coral reefs

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-07-03 18:14

NEW YORK - The US state of Hawaii is about to announce the world's first ban on sunscreens containing two chemicals deemed damaging to its coral reefs, local media reported on Monday.

Governor David Ige is expected to sign a bill into law later this week to restrict the sale and distribution of all sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate.

The bill states that the chemicals "have significant harmful impacts on Hawaii's marine environment and residing ecosystems."

Up to 70 percent of sunscreens sold on the US market contain oxybenzone and up to 8 percent contain octinoxate, which often appears on the labels as octyl methoxycinnamate, National Public Radio reported.

Studies have suggested octinoxate can contribute to coral bleaching and oxybenzone exposure leads to the death of baby coral, according to the report.

Although the law will not take effect till 2021, it has already drawn opposition from various companies and business associations.

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

"...it is contrary to the many concerns expressed by Hawaii's medical doctors, dermatologists, and public health experts," it added.

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