In an effort to protect ourselves from sun damage, humans are harming the living coral in our ocean. If you needed more reasons to read labels and avoid toxic ingredients, saving coral reefs is another one. And oxybenzone is the culprit.
Not only did the study determine that a tiny amount of sunscreen is all it takes to begin damaging the delicate corals — the equivalent of a drop of water in a half-dozen Olympic-sized swimming pools — it documented three different ways that the ingredient oxybenzone breaks the coral down, robbing it of life-giving nutrients and turning it ghostly white. – Washington Post
So if you put on sunscreen that has oxybenzone (and other chemicals) in it, and you don’t go in the water, what happens? When you shower and wash off those chemicals and your waste water gets dumped into a nearby ocean, those toxins still get into the ocean and do the same damage.
Scientists have been observing a massive global coral bleaching, mainly due to the rising temperatures in the ocean. Choosing a different sunscreen can help the health of the ocean that is already under stress.
Now what? We need to protect ourselves from the sun, but how do we do that without putting toxic chemicals on our skin and in our oceans?
- One really easy thing to do is wear a sunshirt or sunblocking clothing while swimming or out in the sun. It decreases the amount of skin you need to apply sunscreen to, so it saves you money over the long term and protects your skin better.
- Another great way to help the planet, is to use sunblock that leaves out the most offensive chemicals, including oxybenzone. These are a few of my favorite sunscreens from the EWG’s least toxic sunscreen list that are not terribly expensive:
- All the Badger Brand Sunscreens are good.