[Coral-List] effect of sunscreen on corals

Bill Allison allison.billiam at gmail.com
Wed Feb 6 01:05:00 UTC 2019

It strikes me that sunscreens will tend to float as will toxins seeping
into the sea from freshwater lenses and fogging pesticides in diesel
carriers, all of which will be harmful to organisms in the surface
Wurl, O. and J. P. Obbard (2004). "A review of pollutants in the
sea-surface microlayer (SML): a unique habitat for marine organisms."
Marine Pollution Bulletin 48(11-12): 1016-1030.
Boundary layers between different environmental compartments represent
critical interfaces for biological, chemical and physical processes. The
sea-surface microlayer (uppermost 1-1000 lm layer) forms the boundary layer
interface between the atmosphere and ocean. Environmental processes are
controlled by the SML, and it is known to play a key role in the global
distribution of anthropogenic pollutants. Due to its unique chemical
composition, the upper organic film of the SML represents both a sink and a
source for a range of pollutants including chlorinated hydrocarbons,
organotin compounds, petroleum hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons (PAH) and heavy metals. These pollutants can be enriched in
the SML by up to 500 times relative to concentrations occurring in the
underlying bulk water column. The SML is also a unique ecosystem, serving
as an important habitat for fish eggs and larvae. Concentration ranges and
enrichment factors of pollutants in the SML in different areas of the
world's oceans have been critically reviewed, together with available
toxicity data for marine biota found within the SML. Overall, the SML is
highly contaminated in many urban and industrialized areas of the world,
resulting in severe ecotoxicological impacts. Such impacts may lead to
drastic effects on the marine food web and to fishery recruitment in
coastal waters. Studies of the toxicity of fish eggs and larvae exposed to
the SML contaminants have shown that the SML in polluted areas leads to
significantly higher rates of mortality and abnormality of fish embryos and

On Tue, Feb 5, 2019 at 5:17 PM Risk, Michael via Coral-List <
coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:

> Hi Doug.
> I find this screed by Terry to be deeply disappointing. Not only is it
> scientifically misleading, it epitomizes an attitude all too common among
> reef biologists, namely: "the most important stress on coral reefs is the
> one on which I am personally working." This attitude prompted my by-now
> ancient paper, Paradise Lost-not only has little changed since then, it
> seems things are even worse.
> Now, to the science.
> I urge you all to read one of the key papers, Downs et al 2016 Arch Env
> Contam Toxic 70: 265. It is simply not true that authors bathed their
> corals in unrealistically high concentrations of oxybenzone, nor is it true
> they lack real-world data. They report high concentrations of oxybenzone in
> VI waters, along with zero coral recruitment. This stuff is death to coral
> larvae, at unbelievably low concentrations.
> We need here to beware of some sort of false dichotomy. No one is saying,
> forego sunscreens. American readers will be surprised (or not) to learn
> that Europe banned the use of the known carcinogen oxybenzone in
> sunscreens, but American companies were allowed to get away with it. The
> research mentioned above has come under heavy criticism from the chemical
> industry in the US, quelle surprise. The answer is quite simple: avoid
> sunscreens that contain oxybenzone.
> Criticisms of the research seem based not so much on genuine scientific
> issues as some sort of zero-sum game attitude, that attention to sunscreen
> will detract from whatever flavour of the month turns your particular
> crank. This is a small thing we can all do for reefs whilst still working
> on the big things.
> Full disclosure: Craig Downs is a friend of mine, and in my opinion a
> brilliant scientist.
> Mike
> ________________________________________
> From: Coral-List [coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] on behalf of
> Douglas Fenner via Coral-List [coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov]
> Sent: February 5, 2019 1:18 AM
> To: coral list
> Subject: [Coral-List] effect of sunscreen on corals
> There's insufficient evidence your sunscreen harms coral reefs.
> By Terry Hughes
> https://theconversation.com/theres-insufficient-evidence-your-sunscreen-harms-coral-reefs-109567
> Open-access.
> Cheers,  Doug
> --
> Douglas Fenner
> Ocean Associates, Inc. Contractor
> NOAA Fisheries Service
> Pacific Islands Regional Office
> Honolulu
> and:
> Consultant
> PO Box 7390
> Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA
> How to win public support for a global carbon tax
> https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00124-x
> Global warming will happen faster than we think.
> https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07586-5
> Nations falling short of emissions cuts set by Paris climate pact, analysis
> finds
> http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/11/nations-falling-short-emissions-cuts-set-paris-climate-pact-analysis-finds?utm_campaign=news_daily_2018-11-28&et_rid=17045989&et_cid=2515903
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> https://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> https://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list

More information about the Coral-List mailing list