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Hawaii Potentially Banning 70 Percent Of Sunscreen Brands Available In The Market

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Hawaii's decision to ban sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate could potentially prohibit 70 percent of known sunscreen products in the market. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association believed that this move impacts the efforts made to prevent skin cancer.  ( Koen Suyk | AFP/Getty Images )

Once Hawaii implements the SB 2571 by 2021, there is a probability that as much as 70 percent of known sunscreen brands will be affected.

Furthermore, the bill has the tendency to be at odds with efforts to combat skin cancer, thereby compromising the health and safety of millions of people and tourists, according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.

Hawaii could be the first in the world to implement a ban on sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are found to be harmful to corals. The bill had already been passed Hawaii's state House and Senate and if signed into law, it will prohibit over-the-counter sales of sunscreens with these two elements.

Sunscreen Brands With Oxybenzone and Octinoxate

Majority of the known sunscreen brands contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. These brands are not only being sold in Hawaii but also across the world. Some of these brands are the Hawaiian Tropic, Banana Boat, Neutrogena, and Coppertone.

Johnson & Johnson, which owns Neutrogena, said it stands by the statement given by the CHPA.

"...[S]afety and welfare of millions of Hawaii residents and tourists have been severely compromised by the passage of SB 2571 that will ban at least 70 percent of the sunscreens on the market today, based on weak science blaming sunscreens for damage to coral reefs," the CHPA asserts in its statement.

"Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that excess sun exposure without effective sunscreen increases the risk of developing skin cancer in both adults and children," the statement argues.

The association highlighted that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.

CHPA describes the looming ban as an irresponsible action, making it difficult for families and tourists to protect themselves from cancer-causing ultraviolet rays. The CHPA contends that oxybenzone and octinoxate are key ingredients of the effective sunscreen brands in the market. It pointed out that the Food and Drug Administration recognized the two ingredients as safe and effective.

The organization stresses that banning the sunscreens deviate the attention from the more pertinent causes of coral decline such as global warming, agricultural runoff, sewage, and overfishing.

Finally, CHPA concludes that the ban creates a false hope that prohibiting these sunscreens will heal Hawaii's coral reef while it will have little to no impact on their survival. Rather, it says that banning sunscreens with oxybenzone and octinoxate has the potential to create a public health crisis.

The Hawaii Medical Association, Hawaii Dermatological Society, Hawaii Skin cancer Coalition, and Hawaii Department of Health have also expressed concerns regarding the legislation. The ABC Stores, the Hawaii Food Industry Association, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, and the Personal Care Products Council object the legislation as well.

Statements from Coppertone, Banana Boat, and Hawaiian Tropic

Bayer, the manufacturer of Coppertone, said it will comply with Hawaii's impending law. The manufacturer, however, explains that removing these two ingredients from sunscreen go against efforts done to prevent skin cancer. It reiterates that science had already proven that UV radiation causes skin cancer and sunscreen is the most effective protection against the radiation.

Edgewell Personal Care, the manufacturer of Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic sunscreens, assured that their products contain FDA-approved amounts of oxybenzone and octinoxate that protect users from ultraviolet rays. The manufacturer assured that they will comply with all relevant legislation and reminded that consumers can check their labels to make informed buying decisions.

Alternatives To Oxybenzone and Octinoxate

The Environmental Working Group states that the best sunscreen brands to use are those that are mineral-based, using zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

It will also help to look for sunscreen brands that use natural ingredients and fragrance-free to help save the coral reefs.

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