ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Best Environmental Sunscreen Choices: Save Coral Reefs and Your Skin

Updated on May 22, 2013
Coral reef photo by Mikhail Rogov via Wikimedia Commons
Coral reef photo by Mikhail Rogov via Wikimedia Commons

Caribbean Solutions SolGuard Environmental Sunscreens

The Connection Between Sunscreen and Coral Reefs

Every summer, millions of people from around the globe put on sunscreen before heading to their favorite beaches. The lotions and sprays we apply say they’ll protect us from wrinkles, skin cancer, and other dangers from overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. But these same products may be killing our coral reefs - and not really protecting us from the dangers they claim to abate.

A 2008 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives journal showed that common ingredients in sunscreen can kill coral reefs within a matter of days. The ingredients cause a reaction in an algae that lives within the reefs and is necessary to their survival. When exposed to the sunscreen chemicals, a dormant virus within the algae replicates until the algae explodes, spilling viruses into the water. The reaction can cause coral reefs to bleach and die within four days.

The report says 10 percent of the world’s coral reefs may be at risk from the 4000 to 6000 metric tons of sunscreen that wash into our oceans every year.

Some popular vacation destinations have already taken action to protect their reefs. In Mexico, a few national marine parks, such as Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park, no longer allow synthetic sunscreens. Instead, visitors must use biodegradable sunscreens that don’t contain coral-bleaching ingredients.

Environmental sunscreens are readily available in the United States, but not enough people know about the connection between coral reef bleaching and chemical sunscreen. The most popular brands of sunscreen all contain chemicals that can kill ocean corals. And they may also be dangerous to our health. Currently, the FDA has no regulations on sunscreen.

In fact, many sunscreens have ingredients that not only won’t stop skin cancer, but the ingredients themselves may even cause skin cancer. The FDA is currently investigating whether a form of vitamin A known as retinyl palmitate may increase the risk of dangerous skin cancers when applied to skin and exposed to the sun. Retinyl palmitate is found in 41 percent of sunscreens.

So what should you do if you want to protect yourself and the environment? The best way to protect yourself from the sun’s UV radiation sun is to stay out of the midday sun, wear clothes that block UV rays, and use a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, according to the National Cancer Institute. But which sunscreen?

The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit organization that publishes an annual sunscreen guide that can help you decide. The 2010 guide rates the dangers of more than 1400 products designed to protect you from sun exposure. The report recommends a mere 8% of all the products tested, and those that did earn their top scores – such as Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen SPF30+, California Baby Sunscreen Lotion No Fragrance SPF 30+ and Caribbean Solutions Natural/Biodegradable SolGuard SPF 25 - are biodegradable products that are good for both you and our ocean’s coral reefs.

So before you hit the beach this summer, do your body and the world’s coral reefs a favor and check the ingredients in your sunscreen.

Our Disappearing Coral Reefs

Coral Reefs

Source

Would You Change Your Sunscreen to Protect Ocean Corals?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • kislany profile image

      kislany 

      5 years ago from Cyprus

      Very interesting, I wouldn't have ever thought of this connection, thanks to bringing it to our attention.

    • fanfreluche profile image

      fanfreluche 

      5 years ago from France (but Canadian at heart)

      Thank you! This is another important issue that seems to go pretty much ignored. especially the part about many of these so call sun protection that are causing both cancer and dead of our coral reefs.

      Our family use the brand Evoa (available in Europe, not sure about North America tho).

    • Red Rose 23 profile image

      Red Rose 23 

      6 years ago from The Rose Feilds

      I like your story; i would have never thought....

    • environment911 profile image

      environment911 

      8 years ago

      Wow, never would have made that connection. Great eye opening article.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)