Hawai’i becomes first to ban reef-damaging sunscreens

Posted on Jul 25, 2018 in Featured, Main

PROTECTING REEFS: Gov. Ige and legislators gather at the Capitol for the historic bill signing.

With the stroke of a pen, Governor Ige made Hawai‘i the first place in the world to ban the sale of sunscreens with the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate, effective Jan. 1, 2021. At the signing ceremony, the governor said, “Our natural environment is fragile, and our own interaction with the Earth can have lasting impacts. This new law is just one step toward protecting the health and resiliency of Hawai‘i’s reefs.”

The event in the Capitol rotunda drew representatives from the Friends of Hanauma Bay, the Surfrider Foundation and The Kohala Center of Hawai‘i island. They called the ban “historic” and praised the state for leading the way on the issue. “This bill has enormous significance,” said Sen. Roz Baker. “By signing this measure, you are presenting our community with a unique moment in time to protect our coral reefs.” Rep. Chris Lee added, “In my lifetime, our planet has lost about half its reefs. We’ve got to take action to make sure we can protect the other half as best we can because we know time is against us.”

Read more in August Capitol Connection newsletter