[Coral-List] sunscreen

Alex Brylske brylske at aol.com
Mon May 26 15:05:04 EDT 2008

Several weeks ago there was a post about the potential effects of  
sunscreen on coral reefs, and some of those who responded said,  
essentially, that this was too trivial a matter to warrant any real  
discussion. Thus, the issue was dropped. I’m wondering if any of you  
have seen the recent article, “Sunscreens Cause Coral Bleaching by  
Promoting Viral Infections,” in the April 2008 issue of Environmental  
Health Perspectives (116:4). In case you haven’t here’s a link: www.ehponline.org/docs/2008/10966/abstract.html

While the article seems to raise the issue to a level warranting some  
concern, as someone in the marine/dive tourism sector, I’m mainly  
interested in practical solutions. Therefore, I’m wondering if the few  
coral reef destinations that require supposedly “environmentally- 
friendly” sunscreens—typically meaning that they’re "oil-free," "PABA- 
free," biodegradable or otherwise made from natural ingredients—are  
making valid recommendations?

I realize in that in light of stressors such climate change,  
acidification, eutrophication and overfishing, tourism doesn’t  
typically get much attention. However, I’m reminded of the kid  
throwing starfish back into the sea after a storm. It seems foolish  
not to do what we can when we can.

I’d appreciate the group’s perspective so that we can provide a  
balanced, science-based view to our readers.


Alex Brylske, Senior Editor

4314 SW 18th Place
Cape Coral, FL 33914
Phone: 239-471-7824
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E-mail: brylske at aol.com
Website: www.dtmag.com

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