How Can You Be Part of the Solution
There are several ways that consumers can reduce the harmful effects that sunscreen is having on coral reef systems worldwide:
- Check the EWG's Annual Sunscreen Rating Guide to see how your sunscreen stacks up. Try to buy sunscreens with ratings between 1 and 2 that have a low environmental impact.
- Purchase sunscreens that have been certified as "reef-safe" by the American Lifeguard Association.
- Demand that your local beach supply stores only sell "reef-safe" sunscreen.
- When participating in outdoor recreational activities, wear UV protectant shirts rather than sunscreen. This will decrease the total amount of sunscreen that you use that could be washed into the ocean.
- Write your local legislator - Many areas located in close proximity to coral reef ecosystems have passed legislation banning the sale of sunscreens containing certain ingredients that have been shown to have a detrimental effect on reefs. For example, a few areas in Mexico now require swimmers and divers to use biodegradable sunscreen products.
- Raise awareness about the issue - This problem exists because most people are not aware that sunscreens can have a harmful effect on the environment. Oftentimes, people are overly concerned with protecting their own health that they do not realize or consider their effects on the outside environment. Explain to your friends why you use biodegradable sunscreen products and suggest that they do the same. Encourage others to visit this blog to learn more about the risks to coral reefs posed by the use of sunscreen. Spread the word!