[Coral-List] Personal Care Product Pollution and its Threat to Coral Reefs

Risk, Michael riskmj at mcmaster.ca
Fri May 6 11:11:21 EDT 2016

Hi Gene.

I have also been horrified by the research that shows the impact of (some!) sunscreens on coral health. In fact, I don’t use any of them any more.

I don’t know anything about the complexities of the US Government, and am content to remain ignorant. But I think we need to get the focus off Cheryl, in case someone decides to shoot a messenger. She is, after all, simply offering to chair a session, which right now does not exist.

The impact of chemical such as sunscreens on coastal reefs may well be profound, as though they needed yet more impacts. This is, however, relatively easy to manage, and there is a role for dive shops and local managers to play. For one thing, if I remember correctly, the European sunscreen formulation is not as harmful-so US manufacturers could simply stop using benzquinones and copy the EU model…

> On May 5, 2016, at 10:35 AM, Eugene Shinn <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu> wrote:
> Cheryl, I commend you for getting the word out about the special session 
> at the ICRS meeting on effects of personal care products.I have long 
> suspected they are harmful to coral reefs. It is indeed a subject worthy 
> of further research. I know you are aware that sunscreens are banned 
> from use in protected reefs areas in Mexico and preliminary studies also 
> have shown their affect live corals. The problem we face in the Florida 
> Keys is that the reefs are governed by the department of Commerce, which 
> as  you know oversees the NOAA Marine Sanctuary program. As such do not 
> expect to see these products banned in the Keys if shown to be toxic. . 
> Preventing sales of these products would have a negative effect on the 
> Keys economy that depends so heavily on snowbird tourists that 
> especially need protection from the sun. Banning of sunscreens would 
> certainly have a negative economic impact on the tourist/swimmer trade.
> I think you as a Dept. of Commerce employee are being especially brave 
> publicizing this special session. I wish you and Craig Downs good luck. 
> Hopefully the session will stimulate some straightforward bio assay work 
> to determine which and if sunscreens affect live corals. 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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Risk, Michael
riskmj at mcmaster.ca

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