Dive Deeper Blog

Reef-Friendly Sunscreen Legislation: Palau and Hawaii Lead the Way

January 22, 2019

The Republic of Palau is an archipelago of over 500 islands and part of the Micronesia region in the western Pacific Ocean. It’s a beautiful spot for many sunscreened tourists and adventurists alike. It is here where founder Autumn Blum noticed the oil slick that sunscreen leaves behind; because of this, our business was born. We stand fiercely to protect the reefs, and provide consumers with reef-safe, ocean-friendly sunscreen that passes muster in the face of recent sunscreen legislation.

The President of the Republic of Palau feels just as strongly as we do about ocean-friendly sunscreen and protecting our oceans and the marine life within them. This past August, he created the Responsible Tourism Education Act of 2018. Within this bill, the President invites the people — like you and me — to be a part of the solution in order to keep their pristine natural sites healthily preserved, instead of being damaged.

The Bill states, “No reef-toxic sunscreen shall be manufactured or imported for sale in the Republic after the effective date of this Act. No reef-toxic sunscreen shall be sold in the Republic after January 2, 2020.” This is huge! It’s an amazing step in legislation for the Republic of Palau in protecting our oceans…now if only other idyllic popular tourist locations would do the same.

Although Hawaii has banned several chemicals found within sunscreen (such as oxybenzone and octinoxate which contribute to coral bleaching), their verbiage is not nearly as comprehensive as the Republic of Palau’s legislation — a concrete bill that not only bans the sale of toxic products, but also enforces fines for vendors who continue to sell toxic products. The Palau bill goes beyond the two chemicals Hawaii has banned and continues on to include: sunscreens and skincare products that contain the chemicals oxybenzone (BP3), octylmethoxycinnamate (EHMC), octorcrylene (OC), 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor (4MBC), triclosan, methyl paraben, ethyl paraben, benzyl paraben, and phenoxyethanol, among others.

This comprehensive legislation is a catalyst for change. Our hope is that other countries worldwide will see the importance and necessity of this bill and take a stand in support of reef-safe, ocean-friendly, toxin-free sunscreen. Our sunscreens and skin care products at Stream2Sea are Hawaii-compliant, and also do not contain the harmful chemicals that the Republic of Palau has banned. It’s also fully compliant with FDA-required testing, meeting or exceeding those regulations.

It’s time to stand up for our oceans and the reefs! Palau is taking action and so should you! We urge you to stand with us and our products and make a difference. Take the consumer Safe Sunscreen Pledge today! Every voice matters, every step counts. Educate yourself and don’t be afraid to make the switch to mineral-based sunscreen!

If you’re in the Florida Keys area, be on the lookout for proposed legislation that would help protect the reefs in your home waters. Maybe someday all regions will have a comprehensive bill to ban toxins from entering our oceans and harming our planet. In the meantime, it’s up to us to be educated and aware!

Experience. Respect. Explore.

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