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Protecting Hawai'i's coral reefs: why reef-safe sunblock is a must

Hawai'i's coral reefs are home to a diverse range of marine life and are a vital part of the state's economy. However, the health of these reefs is under threat from a common personal item: sunblock. To take action to reduce the harm chemical-laden sunblock can cause on our coral reefs, Hawai'i became the first state in the US to require the use of reef-safe sunblock. But why is this necessary? Let's break it down:

  • Harmful Chemicals: Traditional sunblock contains chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, which have been found to be harmful to coral reefs. These chemicals cause coral bleaching, disrupt the growth and reproduction of coral, and can even lead to the death of coral reefs. These chemicals can be harmful to our own health, too, so while we may have to take an extra minute to rub in the white residue from mineral sunblock, we're doing ourselves a major favor!

  • Impact on Marine Life: Coral reefs are not just pretty to look at - they provide shelter and food for countless species of marine life! When coral reefs are damaged, the entire ecosystem is impacted. We've already seen an incredibly disheartening decrease in the health of marine coral. But by using reef-safe sunblock, we can ensure that we are not contributing to the destruction of these important habitats.

  • Protecting Hawaii's Tourism Industry: Our economy in Hawai'i relies heavily on the tourism industry and our beautiful beaches and coral reefs. By promoting the use of reef-safe sunblock, Hawaii is taking steps to ensure that its natural beauty remains intact for you - and future generations - to enjoy!

The use of reef-safe sunblock is a small but important step that we can all take to protect Hawaii's coral reefs. By choosing to use products that are free from harmful chemicals, we can help to ensure that these vital habitats remain healthy and vibrant for years to come. So when you're packing for your trip to Maui or any of Hawai'i's islands, make sure to include reef-safe sunblock on your list of must-haves or plan to purchase some when you arrive!

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