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Hawaii Becomes First State To Ban Sale of Sunscreens With Coral-Harming Chemicals

Through the pro-active, tireless, and persistent efforts of the Friends of Hanauma Bay, we today reached a milestone in global protection of the world’s reef environments.

Today at the state capitol, Gov. David Ige signed a bill banning the sale and distribution of sunscreens containing two chemicals into law shortly after noon at the Capitol Rotunda in Honolulu today.

Senate Bill 2571, introduced by state Sen. Mike Gabbard (D, Kapolei- Makakilo), prohibits the sale and distribution of over-the-counter sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate in Hawaii and was approved by legislators in May. The new law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2021.

“By signing this measure today, we will become the first in the world to enact this type of strong legislation to actively protect our marine ecosystem from toxic chemicals,” said Ige. “This is just one small step for protecting and restoring the resiliency of Hawaii’s reefs.”

The signing was met with applause from supporters who had gathered to witness it at the rotunda, including representatives of the Surfrider Foundation, Friends of Hanauma Bay, and the Kohala Center of Hawaii island.

The bill was supported by a number of nonprofit environmental groups, as well as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. It was opposed by ABC Stores, the Hawaii Medical Association, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, and Personal Care Products Council. Bayer, which manufactures Coppertone sunscreens, also opposed the bill.

Click HERE to see video of the signing and interviews and comments afterwards.