Here’s something you may not know… Your sunscreen is killing coral reefs!
Studies have shown that an active ingredient used in almost every chemical sun protection is harming our coral at dramatic rates. The particular ingredient is quite hard to avoid and is normally accompanied by one of the six other chemical filters that are made to protect our skin.
What we don’t know, is that this particular product is damaging our ecosystem and the wildlife that lies below the surface of our oceans. Active ingredients are biologically active; they are what protect you from the sun in the average, non-mineral sun protection. Sunscreen is incredibly important, so the research that is taken to prove the reliability of these ingredients is very extensive.
But, recent research is proving that no matter how important sunscreen is, the environment is just as vital. There are other ways you can protect your skin while protecting our wildlife and their habitats too!
If you think about how many people swim in the ocean every day, every week, every month and every year… The numbers are staggering! Up to 14,000 tons of sunscreen is said to enter our reefs around the globe every year. Almost every person that swims, surfs or takes a dip in the sea, is guaranteed to lather themselves in sunscreen. Because who wants to get melanoma, right?
Well, unfortunately, the good deed you are doing for your health is not such a good deed for our beautiful oceans.
The major ingredient to watch out for is Oxy Benzone. This ingredient has been found to have significant impacts on the degradation of our beautiful coral reefs. This extremely hurtful chemical filter is accompanied by 4 other active ingredients that are incredibly damaging; Butylparaben, Octisalate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor and Octinoxate.
These active ingredients lathered in everyday sunscreens are toxic; they are harmful to the ocean’s wildlife and they are killing coral like you wouldn’t believe. Just one drop of Oxybenzone in the equivalent of 6.5 Olympic swimming pools worth of ocean, can kill baby coral.
If you stop and think about what these chemicals are doing to the ocean, I guess they can’t be all that good for your skin either. If it is bleaching and destroying coral, I would have to assume that it is doing those sorts of things to your skin too.
And sadly, even if you don’t swim, studies have shown that Oxybenzone can be found in urine after only half an hour of applying… So this stuff could be washed out to sea with your bodily fluids regardless.
So what’s the alternative?
Don’t stop protecting your skin… Simply use natural sunscreen!
There are so many natural sunscreens that do amazing things for the environment (and for yourself of course). My personal favourite is SunButter Oceans SPF 50; this affordable brand uses Non-Nano Zinc Oxide as a natural sun protection alternative. Zinc is by faaaar the best alternative to protect you from the sun whilst avoiding destruction at all costs!
When snorkelling around the stunning islands off the west coast of Sabah, there was little to no colourful, lively coral left to see. Now, I am certainly not blaming sunscreen for all the destruction of coral around the world… there are many other major factors contributing to this problem too; global warming, ocean pollution and certain fishing methods.
But, I know that this certainly is a problem that has been affected by our overwhelming use of toxic chemicals. There is something that every single person on this planet can do that will help prevent any more habitat destruction…
Check your sunscreen and find a natural alternative that won’t harm wildlife! If you’re in the ocean to snorkel and explore what lies below, you certainly don’t want to ruin that by destroying their beautiful homes while you’re at it.
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