What sunscreen has to do with turtles.
Yesterday Hawaii passed the Bill 2571, a bill that bans the use or sale of any sunscreen that is harmful to marine life. Bonaire and other tropical paradises had done this before.
But how can this precious, holiday-smelling cream actually have a negative impact on sea creatures?
A few years ago, on a trip to the well-travelled area of Yucatan in Mexico I had my first "sunscreen epiphany".
When you’re visiting Akumal in the Mayan riviera, there’s only one thing to do (besides slurping a coconut): snorkeling with gorgeous, but endangered, sea turtles. This was the first time I had ever been warned to ONLY use coral reef friendly sunscreen lotion because of its effect on the marine life.
Imagine about 5 to 10 thousand tourists visit the beach. What they leave behind is a layer of oil & grease filled with harmful substances. Now, you might wonder what does that have to do with turtles? Well, these substances (filled with hormone interrupting chemicals) cause infections & diseases on the turtle's skin which cause abnormal growths.
We’re basically giving turtles tumors & rashes… yup..
Once home I started to investigate this a little more, because you want to be sun-safe, but...
ain't no sun without the sea, so you also want to be ocean-safe right?
There are basically 3 chemicals which are harmful to the Nemo’s of the sea. They’re called “the 3 O’s”: Oxibenzone, Octinoxate & oxtocryleneI.
Also known as “REEF ZOMBIES” because they nestle themselves on the reef and then suck all the nutritions out until all that remains is a white, bleached, sad bunch of reef.
What to do to avoid these chemicals? Reading the packaging & avoid that they ever land in your luggage.
Now, if you’d rather read a magazine on the beach instead of reading a whole shelf of books on the subject from the department store, we totally get it! So, to make it easier to make the right purchase we made a little shortlist of reef-friendly products (thx Vogue). The ocean-friendly products tend to use natural minerals such as zinc.
SPF 30 6,95 USD
SPF 30 8,39 USD via Wallmart
SPF 30 Crème fondante
If we were able to banish micro beads in our bath products to avoid eating plastic sushi in the next decade, do you think we should achieve the same to force a ban on "The 3 O’s"?
Let us know in the comments!