The Importance of Choosing Your Sunscreen Wisely

The Importance of Choosing Your Sunscreen Wisely

By Autumn Blum for the Coral Restoration Foundation Hundreds of thousands of divers, snorkelers, fishers and water-lovers visit coastal reefs each year, all with the potential to directly impact our reefs with their personal care and sunscreen choices. A study published by the Environmental Health Perspectives Journal in 2008 showed that common sunscreen ingredients promote viral infections in coral, and estimated that up to 10 percent of coral reefs are directly threatened by sunscreen-induced bleaching. Currently, there are no certifications or laboratory standards that define ‘coral-reef safe” for sunscreens or personal care products. For the long-term protection of the waters we love, it’s critical that consumers and industry professionals alike understand the issues. If your sunscreens contain oxybenzone and parabens, they are part of the problem. Recent research published in the Journal of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology expanded the topic and showed that tiny concentration of these ingredients were damaging at concentrations as low as 62 parts per trillion. Oxybenzone is a commonly used ingredient in suncreen, including some that are labeled as biodegradable and ‘coral reef safe.’ “The use of oxybenzone-containing products needs to be seriously deliberated in islands and areas where coral-reef conservation is a critical issue,” said Dr. Craig Downs, author of the study. Chemical-based sunscreens usually contain a combination of two or more active ingredients, some of which have been shown to bioaccumulate in the body and be hazardous to the aquatic environment. Even switching to mineral sunscreens may not make a difference. Nano particles, for instance, also bioaccumates in aquatic species. ClearZinc®, although naturally compliant, has a toxic coating and is reported on it’s Material Safety...
Organic Sunscreen What Does it Really Mean?

Organic Sunscreen What Does it Really Mean?

When most people think of organic sunscreen, they think natural, wholesome and safe. But, you might remember from high school chemistry that “organic” can also mean carbon-based chemicals. So what’s the big deal? When talking about organic sunscreen ingredients, it’s not the same as the lovely organic tomato you might purchase from Whole Foods. Organic Sunscreens Aren’t Always Telling the Whole Truth Simply put, “organic” sunscreen ingredients can be labeled “organic” just because they’re carbon-based chemicals.  These “organic sunscreens” can still be cause for concern to the environment and to our health.  The manufacturers aren’t lying, but they certainly aren’t telling the whole truth. Oxybenzone, for example, is an Organic Compound Take oxybenzone, also known as benzophenone-3, for example. According to the manufacturer, oxybenzone is an organic compound and is commonly added to sunscreens for its UVA- and UVB-absorbing properties. Controversy abounds regarding these ingredients: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that oxybenzone is found in urine samples of 97% of Americans and linked it to allergies, hormone disruption and cell damage. According to the Environmental Working Group, oxybenzone is “ineffective and harmful,” but lists nearly 600 products containing it, including sunscreens commonly found in local drug stores, outdoor outfitters and marketed towards water-enthusiasts. Other studies show that oxybenzone can trigger outbreaks of viral infection in coral reefs, and can disrupt hormones in fish.  What Kind of Organic Sunscreen Ingredients Matter? This is definitely not the kind of “organic” ingredient most of us would want in our skincare products. These chemicals have the potential to bioaccumulate in our bodies and in our environment – a 2010 study by Margaret Schlumpf...
EcoConscious News

EcoConscious News

Happy Earth Day! We have some great news to share: We were selected by The Grommet Stream2Sea mineral-based sunscreen won ‘Best in Beauty’ Award The Blue Wild Expo this weekend – come see us there! The Grommet Launches Stream2Sea  Less than 3% of products submitted are chosen https://www.thegrommet.com/stream2sea We are stoked! Stream2Sea was selected as a Grommet. A Grommet is an innovative, unique product that is created by a maker with a story. The Stream2Sea Journey was a perfect fit. The Grommet folks think our sun and body care line is the bomb – authentic, pure and sustainable. Take a moment and check out the video below and link to their site. And, if you love us and our mission, please share this with your family, friends and associates. Together we can do better! Best of Natural Beauty Award And, the Winner Is . . . Stream2Sea! We are so proud! Better Nutrition cut through the maze of oodles of natural beauty and personal care products and Stream2Sea won. They stated “This is one smart mineral sunscreen.” Check out all their top picks below. Beauty’s Brightest This Weekend: The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo Ft Lauderdale – April 23rd and 24th Visit Stream2Sea at The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo in Ft. Lauderdale this weekend – BOOTH 227. This is an awesome expo where ocean lovers from all areas come together – freedivers, scuba divers, spearfishermen, lobster divers, paddleboarders, surfers, marine artists, underwater photographers and videographers, adventure travelers, boaters, kayakers. Plus, there will beach apparel and accessories, water toys and more. Bring a friend, stop by and check in with us!...
Biodegradable Sunscreen: What You Need to Know!

Biodegradable Sunscreen: What You Need to Know!

Just because a sunscreen is biodegradable does not mean it is a safe sunscreen for aquatic ecosystems, particularly if it contain oxybenzone, octyl methoxycinnamate and other harsh ingredients. Biodegradability means that the product will eventually break down within 28-60 days, but our question remains what kind of damage can be done to the environment or our bodies during that time? Toxicity and biodegradability are totally different issues. For instance, one of the most toxic pesticides ever made – dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane or DDT – biodegrades into two compounds which are even more dangerous than the original poison. In this case, biodegradability is clearly a bad thing! Is your sunscreen readily biodegradable? There are several tests to measure a sunscreen’s biodegradability, and most are designed to analyze the product’s ability to breakdown in wastewater treatment facilities with high levels of microbes and enzymes. To be considered ‘readily biodegradable,’ the product must break down into its natural state from 60 to 80% in 28 days. ‘Inherently biodegradable’ means it will break down from as low as 20% to 60% in 28 days. Is it tested in freshwater and saltwater environments? When submitting our products to the lab, we requested a test method that would be more in line with what we were trying to prove: that our sunscreens would be biodegradable in streams, lakes and rivers, as well as our oceans, not just sewers and septic systems. Although we were very excited to get the test results showing that not only our sunscreens biodegrade, but also our shampoo, conditioner, lotion, gel… our complete product line is readily biodegradable in both fresh and saltwater.  Even though...