For some time already, scientific evidence has shown that the chemicals found in most sunscreens are toxic to corals, even in extremely tiny doses. Particularly, the ingredients have a negative impact on the juvenile development of most coral and many fish and algae species.
Instead of waiting for international regulators to take action, one tiny island nation has begun the new year with a ban on sunscreens that contain harmful chemicals. The Pacific nation of Palau officially enacted a ban on “reef-toxic” sunscreens to protect its coral reefs and UNESCO World Heritage site.
The new law banned the sale and use of sunscreens containing any of 10 ingredients, including oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are known environmental pollutants, according to the International Coral Reef Foundation.
The legislation is especially important for the island nation which, while having a small population, enjoys a vibrant tourism industry largely based around its famous coral reefs and diving, thus highly exposing the ecosystem to the harmful sunscreen chemicals.