Protecting All Water Sources

Stream2Sea’s mission is to protect all water sources and all aquatic life, not just our reefs.  Fresh waters contain elements like calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, carbon, chlorine, and sulfur—as well as plant nutrients such as nitrogen, silicon, and phosphorus.


We often hear people say: “I only use reef safe sunscreen when diving.” That’s great, but all streams lead to the sea, and very few of these ingredients are filtered out in wastewater treatment plants.

Matter breaks down naturally into these elements and keeps a healthy balance. But introduce skin care, and that environment is affected. When chemicals from sunscreens, shampoo, leave-in conditioner, moisturizers and more end up in freshwater sources, the balance is disrupted..

Stream2Sea was named Stream TO Sea because all our water is connected. Our freshwater resources need to be protected as much as our saltwater resources.

The fact that the sunscreen sits at the surface of the water means that insects will be exposed to sunscreen pollution in high concentration.

In fish, various sunscreen agents have been found to be estrogenic, or able to mimic the hormone estrogen. This hormone effect can alter reproductive success. The chemical ingredients in sunscreen is a suspected culprit for dying fish in Cowichan River.

Nanoparticles of titanium dioxide, copper oxide, zinc oxide and cerium oxide that are added to sunscreen to block harmful ultraviolet rays pose grave risks to small aquatic organisms.

What can we do to save our Earth's beautiful bodies of water?

We all should start by educating ourselves about sunscreen’s effects and look for products that don’t include the most problematic compounds.

Authorities also need to educate themselves about how to manage and reconcile the conflicting values of promoting sunscreen use for worthwhile public health with its serious, however unintended, ecological side effects for other species.


Lake Cowichan’s Tube Shack changed their ways immediately after they heard the harm regular sunscreen was doing to their water.

They now offer sunscreen exchange, free river safe sunscreen application for tubers, and river safe sunscreen for sale. 



“We are 100 percent sure that this sunscreen from Stream2Sea is safe for humans, fish and rivers,” – Frisby, Owner of the Tube Shack

If other businesses and city officials could follow in their footsteps our Earth’s precious bodies of water could begin to eliminate sunscreen pollution.

Most wastewater treatments do not remove oxybenzone and other toxic chemicals found in sunscreen.

The sunscreen that is applied on our skin eventually will get washed down the drain in the shower making their way to wastewater treatment facilities, ending up back in the environment because they are not properly bypassed in the wastewater treatment.

Researchers have found detectable levels of chemical UV filters in lakes, oceans, and rivers around the world, with the highest concentrations found near wastewater treatment plants.

Wastewater treatment facilities are designed to treat organic materials, not chemicals. Keep in mind that wastewater is not just sewage, it is any water that comes from ordinary living processes: bathing, toilet flushing, laundry, dishwashing, etc. It comes from residential and domestic sources.  

Together, we can make a difference!

We’ve all seen images of mayors in various cities drinking “recycled” water – and we actually support the concept because there isn’t enough available freshwater in the world to fulfill the current populations’ needs – much less of those as it grows.

It’s not quite as simple as it looks though. Some contaminants are toxic to sea creatures in almost immeasurable quantities – oxybenzone, for instance, kills coral larva at 62 parts per trillion.

Wastewater treatment plants do an outstanding job of removing contaminants they know about, but a much less exemplary job of substances like pharmaceuticals, hormones, personal care ingredients and even micro-fibers from clothing. The industry calls these “contaminants of emerging concern” and typically ignores them unless scientists prove a problem – think microbeads, which have been forced out
of the market.

In the meantime, it’s up to each one of us to decide what we put on our bodies – and therefore, what ends up in the body of water nearest to our home. And, of course, it doesn’t stay still. What starts in Minneapolis, flows down the Mississippi, out through the Gulf of Mexico and up the coral reefs off
southern Florida.

Together, we can make a difference!

We focus on all water sources and we make sure that 

our products are tested and proven safe.