[Coral-List] an example of sunscreens possibly damaging corals

Douglas Fenner douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Thu Feb 21 02:16:31 UTC 2019

    A friend of my has told me a story of some people handling corals to
asexually propagate new colonies after having used their hands to put the
usual types of sunscreen (containing oxybenzone) on themselves, and having
around 50% coral mortality subsequently.  Other people handling corals for
coral farming who weren't using sunscreens or used mineral-based sunscreens
had very low mortality among their corals.
     Not published, not strong proof, but quite suggestive.  Might be worth
testing out.  Presumably, handling the corals after putting on sunscreen
with those hands could deliver higher doses to the coral than might be
delivered by the water alone.  Wouldn't show that tourists with sunscreen
on them swimming in areas with coral will cause the corals to die (or show
that they wouldn't die).  But would fit with the evidence that oxybenzone
can have deleterious effects on corals if the doses are high enough.
Cheers,  Doug

Douglas Fenner
Ocean Associates, Inc. Contractor
NOAA Fisheries Service
Pacific Islands Regional Office
PO Box 7390
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA

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