[Coral-List] more on oxybenzone and corals

Eugene Shinn eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu
Fri Oct 14 16:37:33 EDT 2016

This was sent to me earlier. I thought it might interest coral 
researchers. Gene

Re: Recommendation of Coral-Safe Sunscreen for Upcoming Ironman Event
To:    Ironman World Headquarters    Cc: 2701 North Rocky Point Drive
Tampa, FL 33607
kona at ironman.com press at ironman.com kona at ironmanvolunteers.com 
david.deschenes at ironman.com
Dear Ironman organizers and staff,
Tom Hasslinger, Editor, West Hawai’i Today 
thasslinger at westhawaiitoday.com Cindi Evans repevans at capitol.hawaii.gov 
Nicole Lowen replowen at capitol.hawaii.gov Maile David 
maile.david at hawaiicounty.gov Margaret Wille 
margaret.wille at hawaiicounty.gov Dru Kanuha dru.kanuha at hawaiicounty.gov 
Karen Eoff karen.eoff at hawaiicounty.gov
Will Espero senespero at capitol.hawaii.gov Dan Mersberg 
daniel.k.mersburgh at hawaii.gov West Hawai’i Sunscreen Retailers
September 21, 2016
As the Ironman rapidly approaches, our organizations feel it is 
imperative to draw your attention to emerging research on the lethal 
effects of a common sunscreen ingredient, oxybenzone (benzophenone-3; 
BP-3), on our treasured coral reef ecosystems. Last year, Hawai’i’s 
corals were devastated by a massive and unprecedented coral bleaching 
event, which resulted in the loss of 50% of our corals.    In response, 
numerous state and local agencies have been working tirelessly to 
promote the recovery our corals. As the thousands of Ironman athletes, 
family, supporters, and staff join us on Hawai’i Island in the coming 
weeks, we respectfully ask that you support the efforts to promote the 
use of coral-safe sunscreens!
Research on Toxic Effects:
 The chemical, oxybenzone (a.k.a. benzophenone-3), commonly used in 
many sunscreens, has been shown to increase the rate of coral bleaching, 
and to cause deformities in coral larvae, making them unable to swim, 
settle, or form new colonies.
 Sunscreen chemicals wash off of users when they enter the ocean, 
particularly if sunscreen is applied just before getting in.
 The Ironman event falls during an important coral larval settlement 
period in West Hawai’i, following late summer spawning events.
 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has detected oxybenzone 
in more than 96 percent of the American population. Oxybenzone can cause 
allergic skin reactions and may disrupt hormones.
 Research continues on other potentially harmful chemicals including 
avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, octinoxate, 
methoxycinnamate, camphors, parabens, and nanoparticle form of certain 
State and International Support:
 Scientists at the International Coral Reef Symposium (June 2016) and 
the IUCN World Conservation Congress (September 2016) agreed on the 
negative impacts of oxybenzone and other sunscreen chemicals on corals, 
and recommended an elimination of use in areas with coral reefs.
 The Hawai’i Department of Land & Natural Resources (DLNR) is asking 
all ocean- users to avoid sunscreens containing oxybenzone, as indicated 
by a press release on Sept. 2, 2016.
 Hawai’i State Senator Will Espero is drafting legislation for a ban on 
oxybenzone and other harmful ingredients, with a target start date of 2018.
Recommended Coral-Safe (and Athlete-Safe) Sunscreens:
A list of recommended sunscreen products, available at the local 
retailers, is provided on the next page. Additional options can be found 
at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website with their 10th annual 
guide to sunscreens, listing many sunscreens which are oxybenzone-free 
and effective for sun protection. 
Please note that certain brands labeled “Reef Safe” may include 
oxybenzone (e.g. “Tropical Seas- Reef Safe” sunscreen), so we encourage 
users to read labels. Preferred sunscreen options include zinc oxide and 
titanium dioxide in their active ingredients, in addition to wearing 
protective clothing.
We truly appreciate your support of local coral reef conservation 
efforts, and hope you will support our efforts to minimize the use of 
oxybenzone -containing sunscreens and promote coral-safe options 
throughout the Ironman season. Feel free to contact us for further 
information, or with suggestions for how to pursue this effort further 
with your team.
With aloha,
Dale Sarver, Ph. D. West Hawai’i Fishery Council- Chairman
Lindsey Kramer, M. S. Eyes of the Reef Network- Hawai’i Island 
Coordinator EOR.Hawaii.Island at gmail.com
Megan Lamson, M. S. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund- Vice President Meg.HWF at gmail.com
Holly Kersten Surfrider Foundation – Kona Kai Ea Chairwoman
chair at surfrider.kona.org
whfc at hawaii.rr.com
List of recommended coral-safe (& athlete-safe) sunscreens available at 
local retailers.
 Alba Botanica: Natural Mineral Protection Sunblock SPF 30 (Island 
Naturals, KTA, Walmart)  All Good: Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 33 or 
Unscented Sunstick SPF 30    (Island Naturals)  All Terrain: AquaSport/ 
Terrasport/ Kidsport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30    (Island Naturals)  
Aveeno: Active Naturals, Natural Protection Lotion, SPF 50    (Walmart)
 Aveeno: Active Naturals, Natural Protection Baby, Lotion or Stick, SPF 
50    (Walmart)  Banana Boat: Kids Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 (KTA, Sack N 
Save, Safeway, Target, Walmart)  Banana Boat: Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 
50    (KTA, Sack N Save, Walmart)  Bare Republic: Natural Mineral 
Sunscreen Sport/Kids Spray, SPF 30 (Target)  Bare Republic: Natural 
Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, Sport, SPF 50 or Face, SPF 30    (Target)  
Coola Suncare: Mineral Sunscreen Unscented, Baby, SPF 50    (Island 
Naturals)  Coola Suncare: Classic Sunscreen Unscented, Sport/Body/Face, 
SPF 30 (Island Naturals)  CVS: Baby Pure & Gentle Sunstick Sunscreen, 
SPF 60 (Long’s Drugs)  Goddess Garden: Natural Sunscreen Lotion: Sport/ 
Kids/ Baby, SPF 30    (Island Naturals)  Goddess Garden: Natural 
Sunscreen Continuous Spray: Sport/ Kids, SPF 30 (Island Naturals)  The 
Honest Company: Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50+ (Costco, Target)  The 
Honest Company: Mineral Sunscreen Spray or Stick, SPF 30 (Costco, 
Target)  MyChelle Dermaceuticals: Sun Shield Clear Stick, SPF 50 
(Island Naturals)  MyChelle Dermaceuticals: Replenishing Solar Defense, 
SPF 30, or Sun Shield, SPF 28 (Island
Naturals)  Neutrogena: Pure & Free Liquid Sunscreen, SPF 50+ (Long’s 
Drugs)  Neutrogena: Pure & Free Baby Faces Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 45+ or 
Stick, SPF 60+    (Long’s
Drugs, Target, Walmart)  Promise Organic: Coconut Sunscreen Stick, SPF 
30 (Long’s Drugs)  Stream2Sea: Mineral Sunscreen for Body/Sport/Face, 
SPF 30 (Big Island Divers, Kona Honu
Divers, Island Naturals, Kahalu'u Bay Education Center)  ThinkSport: 
Safe Sunscreen SPF 50 (Target.com)


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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