Way back in July, 2018 (doesn’t sound like it was so long ago but it sure does feel like it was a LONG time ago) the Governor of Hawaii signed into law SB 2571, Act 104. This sunscreen law prohibits the sale, offer of sale, and/or distribution of sunscreens containing Oxybenzone as well as Octinoxate and it became effective January 1, 2021. In 2018, after the law was signed, I read about it, attended a meeting about it and I think I even wrote a blog or email about it. Then I promptly told myself “2021 is a long way away, so no need to worry about it now”.
Now, here we are in January 2021, and this law has come into effect. So why am I writing about this now, perhaps for a second time? I’m writing because the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) sent a notification along with a nice little video that caught my attention and it jogged my memory. I, along with the HVCB and many others want to protect our reefs and marine life and so would ask that you use sunscreens that are safe for the marine environment. With that in mind we ask that if you already have sunscreen, please check it to see if it contains Oxybenzone and/or Octinoxate. If it does, since I hate being wasteful, I wouldn’t necessarily ask that you throw it out but perhaps just don’t wear it if you are going into the ocean. I think that should work.
Another motivation for writing this now, is the video in the link below. The video was produced and distributed by HVCB and they asked that we distribute it to guests. I watched the video and one of the speakers mentioned that the “Reef Safe” stickers you may see on some sunscreens is a Marketing Term and does not necessarily mean a product is actually safe for the reefs. I for one certainly did not know that. If you’re planning a trip to Ko Olina, or anywhere in Hawaii and purchase sunscreen after you arrive this should not be a problem. However, if you are purchasing sunscreen prior to your arrival please check the ingredients as apparently even if it has a Reef Safe sticker it could still contain Oxybenzone and/or Octinoxate. Please help us protect the marine environment of Hawaii and the rest of the world. Click the link below to view the video from HVCB.