Senate Bill Puts Hawai’i First in the World to Protect Marine Life Against Dangerous Sunscreen Chemicals

Kapolei News
Pictured L-R: Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair of the Senate Agriculture & Environment Committee; Governor David Ige; and Representative Chris Lee, Chair of the House Energy & Environmental Protection Committee

SB2571 signed into law banning Oxybenzone and Octinoxate

A bill that takes steps to protect the island’s precious marine environment and ecosystems against chemicals found in many sunscreens was signed into law today, making Hawai‘i the first state in the nation to ban the sale of all sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. It’s also a first-in-the-world law.

Senate Bill 2571, now Act 104, bans the sale of oxybenzone and octinoxate starting January 1, 2021. This excludes certain prescription sunscreen products intended for use as a cosmetic for the face. The delayed effective date allows for reformulation of sunscreens that are free of oxybenzone or octinoxate, but are also effective in preventing skin cancer.

Calling the new law “a gold standard for the world to follow,” Senator Mike Gabbard (Dist. 20 – Kapolei, Makakilo, portions of ‘Ewa, Kalaeloa, and Waipahu), said “this is a historic bill for our oceans. By taking the lead on banning these dangerous chemicals in sunscreens, we’ve started a tidal wave which will help bring our coral reefs back to life. I hope we can look back 20 years from now and see this as a moment we turned the corner on pollution and witnessed this law being replicated globally.”  Sen. Gabbard, Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment, introduced the bill.

Scientific studies have shown that oxybenzone and octinoxate induce coral bleaching, harm and kill coral larvae by creating gross deformities, and act as an endocrine disrupter. The chemicals have also been linked to negatively impacting the reproductive health in both men and women.