31 Jul The Damage of Sunscreen
Sunscreen is pretty awesome right? It protects you from the sun and lets you enjoy being outside without the worry of a vicious sunburn. But there is a catch. Scientists have discovered that sunscreen containing benzophenone-2 (BP-2) can kill juvenile corals and also causes discoloration.
Coral reefs make up less than 2% of our oceans but are home to more than 25% of all marine life.
Around 25 to 60 million bottles of sunscreen wash off into coral reefs every year. An estimated 25% of sunscreen that is applied to the body is released within 20 minutes and the rest of the chemicals wash off our skin when we shower and end up in the ocean.
Sunscreen is also an endocrine disruptor, estrogenic and may interfere with thyroid and other hormone processes in the body. A study showed that 96% of the population contained Oxybenzone. This chemical is thought to reduce sperm count in men and may even contribute to endometriosis in women.
A study held in South Carolina detected oxybenzone in 90% of samples! That’s a crazy statistic. Here’s another one. A study found that coral in the Virgin Islands contained more than 4000 times the concentration that damaged coral in other studies. 4000! One more time, 4000 times the amount!
If you care about our oceans and want to protect the coral reefs, opt for a reef-safe sunscreen or use a rash guard or wet suit. Look for sunscreens that use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Avoid sunscreens that contain oxybenzone, octocrylene, 4MBC, butylparaben and octinoxate.