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

Billy Causey - NOAA Federal billy.causey at noaa.gov
Tue May 10 12:24:22 EDT 2016


You have previously made this comparison of National Marine Sanctuaries in
NOAA being censored or pressured by the Department of Commerce, our parent
agency, when it comes to decisions or actions that may affect the economy
in the places where our sanctuaries are located or managed.  I have let
your false claims go in the past, thinking you would consider your
ridiculous statements and not repeat them. But, you keep saying them as if
they were the truth and they are not .... you are wrong.  Stating false
information over and over does not make it true, nor validated.

Name a single time the US DOC pressured NOAA/National Marine Sanctuaries to
ignore scientific facts because of economic impacts in the Florida Keys, or
else where in the Southeast Region, or on any coral reef under our
jurisdiction.  You can't, because it has *NEVER* happened. Like any other
agency going through a NEPA process, we have to take into account the
socio-economic impacts of our decisions, but we also have to consider the
environmental consequences of no action.

If you are serious about really doing something about "toxic" substances
getting into the water, you as a US citizen can petition the USEPA to ban
the use of sunscreens or any other substance deemed as harmful to the
marine environment.  Since the use of sunscreens transcends the boundaries
of national marine sanctuaries, perhaps a nation-wide water quality tool
should be used.  We enforce the Clean Water Act, so why don't you try that
route, rather than make stuff up about NOAA and Commerce?

On the scale of potential impacts to living corals, I am not sure we know
where sunscreen ranks.  Climate change (including OA), land-based sources
of pollution, habitat loss and destruction, overfishing and invasives are
at the top of my list of harmful impacts to coral reefs.  All of these,
just as with sunscreens, start with people and people's impacts on our
coastal and marine habitats and underwater communities. But what about dead
corals in remote areas where there is little use by tourists? Those corals
are just as dead as those at some of the heavily used reefs in the Florida

When it boils down to it, there are things that probably affect corals in a
negative sense that we don't even know about yet.  And if they were listed
in order of most harmful, I suspect some of us would not be surprised to
see what was at the top of the list, as compared to the bottom of the list.


On Thu, May 5, 2016 at 10:35 AM, Eugene Shinn <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>

> 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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Billy D. Causey, Ph.D.
Regional Director
Southeast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region
NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
33 East Quay Road
Key West, Florida 33040

Office:  305 809 4670 (ex 234)
Mobile: 305 395 0150
Fax:     305 293 5011
Email:  Billy.Causey at noaa.gov

Will Our Grandchildren Remember Us For What We Conserved and Protected or
For What We Let Slip Away?

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