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4.08.2019

Why You Need to Change Your Sunblock Now

Spring Break has already started. Social media is filling up with pictures of people in bathing suits showing off their burns (oops I mean tans.)  Families are going on cruises, Florida's shorelines are filling up, and the adventurous ones are trying out an international destination.

In Honduras and all the Latin American countries, that I am aware of, we do not have Spring Break but we do have Semana Santa (Holy Week) which is the week before Easter Sunday.

For others, Spring break has come and gone, but the weather is starting to warm up and that means summer is around the corner.

So what's all this news about certain places banning sunblocks? What does it mean?

Sunblock may be good for humans, but it is harmful to the environment.  

Why You Need to Change Your Sunblock Now! Sunblock is good for people but it is bad for sea life. There are two popular chemicals in sunscreen that is kiling coral reef and causing coral bleaching.  Here are two easy ways to help protect your skin and protect the ocean.With a small change in our sunblock we can help make a difference. #sunscreenbadforcoralreef  #protectwhatyoulove

 

 

I have used lots of sunblock over the years have spent lots of time in the sun.  I am a surfer so my 7 years in El Salvador I spent many hours in the water and used lots of sunblock. Little did I know that as I was trying to protect my skin I was hurting the beauty below the surface.

My claim: Sunblock is bad for sea life.


Most common sunscreens have two chemicals called, oxybenzone and octinoxate, which kill developing coral and cause coral bleaching. Coral bleaching is really sad to me because if you have ever been diving or snorkeling and have seen what healthy coral looks like and how beautiful it is...to then see it bleached white and dying is a tragedy. You can find more information on the harmful effects of sunscreen on sea life here Impacts of Suncreens on Coral Reefs

According to an article written by Julia Belluz  Hawaii is Banning Sunscreens That Kill Coral Reef
she says, "Over the past three years, one-fifth of the world’s coral reefs have died off — and there is a growing awareness that sunscreen is playing a role. From 6,000 to 14,000 tons of sunscreen slide off of humans into coral reef areas each year, exposing the gorgeous underwater ecosystems to chemicals that can kill them."

"Lawmakers in Hawaii have passed a bill that will go in effect in 2021 that will make it illegal to use sunblocks with the chemicals mentioned unless it has been prescribed.  It is also stated that Global warming is the main factor for coral bleaching but sunscreens do play a big role in it."
Hawaii is not the only place banning sunscreens Palau and Florida are doing so as well.  Instead of waiting for a ban where you may live or plan on going you can just make the choice yourself to buy sunblock that is safe to use in the ocean.

Here are two useful tips for protecting your skin and not harming reef.

1. Reef Safe Sunblock

There are so many safe alternatives so why not use them? Here is a list of some things to look for when purchasing your environmentally friendly sun protection.

  • Sunblocks that say reef safe
  • Mineral based that use titanium dioxide or zinc oxide 
  • "Non-nano" particles
  • Biodegradable

2. Protective Clothing

I know everyone wants less clothing, not more when it comes to being in or on the water but it is a safe alternative.  If you're going to be on a boat, surfing, or snorkeling you can use long sleeve rash guards and leggings to keep most of your body covered.  Now, you can find protective clothing that looks cute and keeps you safe from the sun.

Changing your sunblock isn't going to solve the coral bleaching problem just like cutting down on your plastics won't solve the waste issues we have in the world, but by doing something you can have a clear conscience that you did what was right; that you did your part.

If everyone did their part this world it would be a different place. The little bit that you change can make a big difference. 

I am a firm believer as a Christian, that we are supposed to do as much as we can to help protect the environment.  God did make it, after all.  How can we say we love God if we don't take care of His creation?  Part of living a lifestyle of worship is taking care of and protecting His creation the best we can. We must be good stewards of the environment.

“But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
“Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
“Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the Lord has done this,
10 In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind? Job 12:7-10



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