Reef Safe Sunscreens
Consider for a moment how many people may be in the ocean at this very moment? The comments we have heard include "Sunblock or suntan lotion on my body probably doesn't impact the reef all that much" or "Will it make a difference if I pay the little extra and buy the good reef safe stuff?"
Think about this - It has been estimated that over 14,000 tons of sunscreen enters the sea annually. That is a lot of chemical added to the ocean. Most have harmful chemicals in them such as, oxybenzone, butylparaben, octinoxate and 4-methylbenzylidine camphor. In a study posted on National Geographic, it has shown that these chemicals can cause a virus in the coral which is a direct cause of coral bleaching, even at low levels. This is such a concern that Hawaii introduced a bill to ban "reef-unfriendly" sunscreens.
What can you do?
DAN (Divers Alert Network) posted some tips in their Sunscreen Pollution article which include:
- Do your research and read what is in it, don't go by just the name as it can be misleading.
- Applying protective lotion to only the neck, face, feet and backs of hands and wear sun clothes designed to reduce UV exposure.
By doing just these 2 things can reduce sunscreen loads into the water by up to 90 percent.
Here at 5280 Scuba, we actually discontinued selling one of the most popular brands of Reef Safe - Biodegradable Waterproof sun screen because the name its self is misleading as it contains both oxybenzone and octinoxateit. We now offer the Badger & Coral Safe brands of products. They are truly reef safe, natural, and effective. We also offer multiple brands of rash guards, including our own brand ,which is made from recycled materials, all of which have a SPF rating of 50+. Buying the good stuff and covering up is just another step in the right direction to help protect our delicate reefs.