[Coral-List] New Scientific Study Released on toxic effects of a, common sunscreen chemical on juvenile coral

Eugene Shinn eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu
Thu Oct 22 14:14:05 EDT 2015

I thought the posting about toxicity of sunscreens on corals and coral 
larvae was a blockbuster we should all heed. I well remember when some 
Italian scientists came to the same conclusion a few years ago. Their 
findings were met with silence and or skepticism.At the time it occurred 
to me that silence could be because outlawing the sale of sunscreens 
containing oxybenzone might harm the Florida Keys economy. It is an 
economy that depends mainly on tourism, water activities, and abundant 

After reading the article posted yesterday I called a friend who is a 
Fellow of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. He is a 
recognized expert on pesticides and other toxic substances in the 
environment. As soon as I mentioned oxybenzone he said, “that is a well 
known carcinogen.”I already knew that the AAEM, an organization composed 
of professional Medical Doctors considers American Sunscreens to be 
carcinogenic. For that reason I never use them.My friend then encouraged 
me to Google /European Sunscreens FDA/, which I did. Wow! That website 
was just the tip of the iceberg. I encourage all coral list readers to 
go to 
where you will read, “After a decade the FDA Still Won’t allow New 
Sunscreens.” You will learn that European sunscreens are not 
carcinogenic and that oxybenzone, the major ingredient in US sunscreens, 
is the main ingredient that absorbs UV radiation. I also learned from my 
friend that when the sun is not shining oxybenzone continues to attack 
the skin. This website also includes, “Last summer, the U.S. *Surgeon 
General’s Office* <http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/> noted that 5 million 
people are treated for skin cancer annually. Melanoma rates skyrocketed 
200% between 1973 and 2011. Now, 63,000 new cases of melanoma are 
diagnosed in the U.S. annually, and nearly 9,000 people die from the 
disease each year. You will also read:

“We have a serious problem with skin cancer rates,” Werner says, “but we 
have FDA holding up all these sunscreen applications.” While other 
government entities such as the Surgeon General’s Office and the 
*Centers for Disease Control & Prevention* <http://www.cdc.gov/> 
encourage the use of sunscreens to prevent cancer, FDA continues to 
restrict access to more effective sun filters. “The dissonance is really 
troubling,” he says.

I think we have to wonder if the FDA and Dept. of Commerce is protecting 
American sunscreens mainly for economic reasons? I think this is subject 
that should be taken seriously. Is there anyone out there that has not 
detected the odor of coconut-scented sunscreens when down wind of dive 
boats unloading dozens of divers on popular dive sites? Do those oily 
sunscreens also tend to float on the surface? Is that not where coral 
larvae accumulate after spawning? Should we not take this all very 
seriously?At the very least dive boat operators should prevent their 
patrons from entering the water wearing Sunscreens that contain 
Oxybenzone. Ironically Sunscreens are not allowed on divers swimming on 
protected coral reef areas in Mexico. I wonder why? Gene


No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
College of Marine Science Room 221A
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158
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