U.S. Virgin Islands Moves to Ban Coral Reef Killing Sunscreen Chemicals

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U.S. Virgin Islands, paddlexaminer, all good, reef friendly

All Goodmakers of organic skincare and reef friendly sunscreens, applauds the U.S. Virgin Islands for enacting an unprecedented ban on the importation, sale, and possession of three common active chemical sunscreen ingredients including oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene. All Good’s ongoing “Reef Friendly” campaign highlights these chemicals in the ‘Awful Eight’ active sunscreen ingredients that have been proven to be toxic to coral reefs, marine ecosystems and human health.

The full ban will go into effect March 30, 2020, with retailers prohibited from importing shipments of sunscreen containing these ingredients after September 30, 2019.

In contrast to Hawaii’s “oxybenzone/octinoxate” ban, the Virgin Islands’ ban would begin more than a full year before Hawaii’s ban goes into effect. Additionally, the Virgin Islands’ ban on octocrylene means that only mineral sunscreen products containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide can be used in the islands. This makes the U.S. Virgin Islands the first jurisdiction that is compliant with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s recent recognition that only these two mineral ingredients are considered safe and effective over-the-counter sunscreen drugs.

“The Caribbean has already lost more than 80% of its coral reefs due to a variety of issues,” says Harith Wickrema, president of USVI’s Island Green Living Association. “Studies have shown that these sunscreen chemicals have more than 40 times the acceptable levels in some of our bays. Tourism- based economies will experience financial devastation if coral reefs and other marine life cannot recover. The ripple effect would be huge and we need to take action now.”

Caroline Duell, All Good CEO and spokesperson for the Safe Sunscreen Council, stated, “This is an opportunity for the sunscreen industry to follow science and help consumers make responsible choices that are safe for coral reefs and safe for their families as well. There are dozens of brands with readily available products on the market that are effective, enjoyable to use, and compliant with the Virgin Islands’ recent legislation.”

Dr. Craig Downs, one of the leading scientists studying the problem of sunscreen pollution said about the new law, “The battle is between over-tourism and ecological conservation – too many people are coming to enjoy the reef and their numbers are destroying it. The Virgin Islands government did one of the few things they could do to manage this impact, and that is encourage the use of environmentally safer sunscreens. Clean water is critical for allowing the next generation of coral reefs to become established in popular swimming areas.”

Prof. John Fauth of the University of Central Florida, another scientist who is studying this problem, points out the bigger picture of sunscreen pollution and coral reefs. “Petroleum-sunscreen chemicals exacerbate the impacts of increased ocean temperatures and sunlight – two factors associated with climate change. Oxybenzone and these other chemicals can make corals more susceptible to bleaching and disease – reducing their resiliency to climate change events. The tourism industry understands that managing sunscreen pollution also means managing climate-change impacts.”

About All Good 

Founded in 2006, All Good offers a collection of organic, botanical skincare products and Reef Friendly sunscreens. The line includes organic lip balms, healing balm, coconut oils, silky smooth body lotions, botanical deodorants, sore muscle spray and an assortment of zinc-based sun care products.

Located in Morro Bay, California, All Good is a certified B Corporation and member of 1% for the Planet. Dedicated to social and environmental responsibility, All Good endorses the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics by testing its products on humans rather than animals. Available online and in 4,000+ retailers in the U.S. and Canada including health food stores, outdoor sports shops and high-end gift shops. Learn more about All Good at AllGoodProducts.com and follow on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

About the Safe Sunscreen Council

Emerging scientific studies indicate that ingredients found in many chemical sunscreens may cause damage to humans and the environment. The Safe Sunscreen Council is a coalition of companies with a shared mission to study this issue, raise awareness within the skincare industry and consumers while supporting the development and adoption of safer ingredients for people and planet. Find us online at www.safesunscreencouncil.org or contact Caroline Duell, Safe Sunscreen Council Spokesperson at info@safesunscreencouncil.org or (805) 235-4521.  

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