Deadly Sunscreen


Caleb Kaniho, Grade 9

Sunscreen is something we don’t think about, we just put it on and jump in the ocean, but did you know that sunscreen is bad for the environment? Sunscreens contain dangerous chemicals, that damage the coral reefs, which in turn damage the entire ocean environment. Hawaii should ban the use and sale of toxic sunscreens because many people use sunscreen that kills our coral reef. 

It may be surprising to hear that many sunscreens contain dangerous chemicals. Oxybenzone and octinoxate are two main ingredients that are found in sunscreen that deplete the DNA in our coral reef. When you swim with sunscreen on, chemicals like Oxybenzone and Octinoxate get into the ocean (Consumer Reports, 2019). By allowing stores to sell these sunscreens, it is playing a part in damaging our ocean’s ecosystem.

As stated above, sunscreen damages coral. When you put sunscreen on, it doesn’t stay on in the water, harmful chemicals seep into the ocean coral (National Ocean Service, n.d.). A solution may be using non-toxic sunscreens. By using natural sunscreen the coral will not be intoxicated by harmful chemicals found in most common sunscreens. 

Our entire ocean environment is affected as we keep using harmful sunscreen in the water. In the long run, it will not only affect coral but species that depend on coral for food and shelter. Many species that live in the ocean will die if their only source of food is destroyed. This will lead to a domino effect killing many types of fish, which could one day lead to us not having enough food that we are used to getting from the sea. (Telangana Today, 2020).  We need to do our part to keep our environment living. 

If we stop using harmful sunscreen and start using natural sunscreen or just wearing a rash guard, that is good for the ocean and good for the economy because people may prefer better non-toxic products to buy, even if they do sell for more than the cheap, harmful, sunscreens. We can all do our part by boycotting these bad products and use, hats, rash guards, or natural sunscreen.