How Sunscreen Could Be Destroying Coral Reefs

We all want to make sure that our oceans remain as healthy as possible because everything in the world is intrinsically tied to the more than 70 percent of water that makes up the planet. Anything that happens to the ocean will have an effect felt even in the deepest parts of the hottest deserts, and this is already being observed today. Years of abuse and the overuse of carbon emitting resources has taken its toll on our oceans and the results are devastation like few have ever seen all occurring in our lifetimes. Just to outline some of the most serious problems caused by any damaged or changes to our oceans include:

  • Super storms
  • Food scarcity
  • Mass extinction
  • Changes in weather patterns
  • Hotter summers and colder winters
  • More frequent wildfires

Looking at all those factors, it’s only natural that you would want to do everything in your power to make sure that our oceans stay in tip top form, but what you might not know is that you could be damaging it without actually intending to. Take your sunscreen products for example since some brands contain chemicals that are so toxic to coral reefs that they affect the very DNA of the young marine beds. The chemical in question is oxybenzone and it causes things like endocrine disruption and even DNA damage which then lead to the deaths of the corals in question. The chemical also has the ability to cause or at the very least worsen the bleaching process of corals which is where they reject the presence of organisms that they need in order to thrive through a symbiotic relationship. As you might imagine, this then causes the deaths of the corals and it’s occurring pretty broadly already because of climate change.

coral reefs

coral reefs

Now, there are a few things about this issue that are quite unfortunate since it’s been happening for a long time and would therefore take a lot of effort to change. For one thing, people have been using sunscreen for a very long time and it’s actually encouraged by doctors in order to prevent skin damage due to the harsh rays of the sun. As a result, a lot of people have been blissfully protected without ever knowing that such protection was actually causing harm if they swam near where coral reefs are. Heck, even those who are trying to preserve coral reefs wear sunscreen and so it’s an ironic situation.

With that said, the solution to the problem seems pretty simple since there are actually sunscreen brands that don’t contain the dangerous chemical. So all you really need to do is to switch to those brands. When the companies making the sunscreen products containing said chemical realize the problem, they would either change their recipe in order to reflect the wants of their customers or campaign against the findings of the research that oxybenzone. In any case, the most important thing that you can do is to inform people of this problem so that they will know.