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H awaii Bans Toxic Sunscreen From Its Beaches: Is California next?

Take out your parasols, let’s party like it’s 1899.

More and more people are beginning to realize that chemicals found in the majority of sunscreens - oxybenzone and octinoxate - are detrimental to the health and longevity of our coral reefs.

How does that work? In short, these chemicals prevent coral from absorbing the nutrients needed to remain healthy, preventing growth and disrupting the development of other marine life.

This is a problem for picturesque reefs filled with sunscreen slathered beachgoers. It’s common knowledge that sun lotion easily washes off your skin and into the ocean, especially if you recently rubbed it on. (“Jimmy, wait 30 minutes before you get in the water!” - Jimmy’s Mom)

 

A sad sea turtle swims above a bleached coral reef

 

But the ocean is really big. How much harm can a few layers of sunscreen off Bob’s back really do?

Unfortunately, quite a bit. Studies done in Hawaii’s picturesque Hanauma Bay revealed that the 2,600 average visitors deposited about 412 pounds of sunscreen into the water every day. That’s just under 50 gallons.

To put it in perspective, “the damaging effects of sunscreen can occur in concentrations as low as 62 parts per trillion, which is equivalent to one drop of oxybenzone in six Olympic-sized swimming pools.”

Yikes. Hawaii is taking action, and passed a bill on Tuesday that will ban the sale of sunscreen with harmful chemicals, becoming the first US state to take action against toxic lotions. If signed, the ban would begin in 2021.

 

Hawaii's famous Hanauma Bay

 

If the ban proves to be effective, it’s not unreasonable to assume that other coastal states will follow, especially California. Our Golden State recorded 251 million visitors (collectively wearing about 40 million gallons of sunscreen), and that number has reportedly only gone up in recent years.

Sure, not all 251 million tourists are diving into the Pacific Ocean with their SPF 1000. But even water from our showers, which is treated before running back into the ocean, contains a lot of the chemicals found in harmful sunscreens.

Hawaiian Senator Laura Thielen put it this way: “So really it’s damaging our corals no matter whether you're wearing it on land or at the beach."

 

Surf Durt is a California based company making reef safe sun protection | surfdurt.com

 

What can we do?

Obviously, we don’t want our coral reefs in California to drown in sunscreen. It’s entirely possible (probable, even) that a similar law will come into effect, banning sunscreens with oxybenzone and octinoxate from California beaches.

But due process isn’t exactly the fastest swimmer in the pool, and chance are something needs to go wrong (like our coral reefs start dying) before laws are proposed. At that point, California lawmakers will likely see Hawaii as a role model. But until then?

The solution doesn’t have to involve a terrible sunburn: just use better sunscreen. There are about 3,400 (!) ocean-friendly sunscreens on the market that use natural ingredients, so your skin and the sea can happily coexist.

In a perfect world, beachgoers around the world would take the hint from mother nature and start using reef safe sunscreen exclusively. Until that happens, we'll do what we can: at our shop in La Jolla, we've removed all harmful sunscreens and only sell the good stuff.

Otherwise, you can ditch the lotion and borrow my parasol. Fashion always repeats itself, right?

 

Forget sunscreen, I'll just wear a shirt

Hats that will make your head spin.

Or heads that will make your hat spin? Click on the brim of the hat to see our full headwear collection!

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Hawaii Bans Toxic Sunscreen From Its Beaches: Is California next?

Take out your parasols, let’s party like it’s 1899.

More and more people are beginning to realize that chemicals found in the majority of sunscreens - oxybenzone and octinoxate - are detrimental to the health and longevity of our coral reefs.

How does that work? In short, these chemicals prevent coral from absorbing the nutrients needed to remain healthy, preventing growth and disrupting the development of other marine life.

This is a problem for picturesque reefs filled with sunscreen slathered beachgoers. It’s common knowledge that sun lotion easily washes off your skin and into the ocean, especially if you recently rubbed it on. (“Jimmy, wait 30 minutes before you get in the water!” - Jimmy’s Mom)

 

A sad sea turtle swims above a bleached coral reef

 

But the ocean is really big. How much harm can a few layers of sunscreen off Bob’s back really do?

Unfortunately, quite a bit. Studies done in Hawaii’s picturesque Hanauma Bay revealed that the 2,600 average visitors deposited about 412 pounds of sunscreen into the water every day. That’s just under 50 gallons.

To put it in perspective, “the damaging effects of sunscreen can occur in concentrations as low as 62 parts per trillion, which is equivalent to one drop of oxybenzone in six Olympic-sized swimming pools.”

Yikes. Hawaii is taking action, and passed a bill on Tuesday that will ban the sale of sunscreen with harmful chemicals, becoming the first US state to take action against toxic lotions. If signed, the ban would begin in 2021.

 

Hawaii's famous Hanauma Bay

 

If the ban proves to be effective, it’s not unreasonable to assume that other coastal states will follow, especially California. Our Golden State recorded 251 million visitors (collectively wearing about 40 million gallons of sunscreen), and that number has reportedly only gone up in recent years.

Sure, not all 251 million tourists are diving into the Pacific Ocean with their SPF 1000. But even water from our showers, which is treated before running back into the ocean, contains a lot of the chemicals found in harmful sunscreens.

Hawaiian Senator Laura Thielen put it this way: “So really it’s damaging our corals no matter whether you're wearing it on land or at the beach."

 

Surf Durt is a California based company making reef safe sun protection | surfdurt.com

 

What can we do?

Obviously, we don’t want our coral reefs in California to drown in sunscreen. It’s entirely possible (probable, even) that a similar law will come into effect, banning sunscreens with oxybenzone and octinoxate from California beaches.

But due process isn’t exactly the fastest swimmer in the pool, and chance are something needs to go wrong (like our coral reefs start dying) before laws are proposed. At that point, California lawmakers will likely see Hawaii as a role model. But until then?

The solution doesn’t have to involve a terrible sunburn: just use better sunscreen. There are about 3,400 (!) ocean-friendly sunscreens on the market that use natural ingredients, so your skin and the sea can happily coexist.

In a perfect world, beachgoers around the world would take the hint from mother nature and start using reef safe sunscreen exclusively. Until that happens, we'll do what we can: at our shop in La Jolla, we've removed all harmful sunscreens and only sell the good stuff.

Otherwise, you can ditch the lotion and borrow my parasol. Fashion always repeats itself, right?

 

Forget sunscreen, I'll just wear a shirt

 

How Two Beach Bums Started a Successful Lifestyle Company


It all began with a few kayaks and an old pickup truck.

When the recession struck in 2008, Michael Samer and Christopher Lynch quickly discovered that they didn’t have a ton of career options, especially for graduates fresh out of college. What they did have was the beach, an unemployed status, a lot of time and nothing to lose.

These humble beginnings are the origins of Everyday California. It was a little adventure company run out of a storage shed in La Jolla by a couple of beach bums with a big idea: share the California lifestyle with the world.

 

The original beach bums, Michael Samer (left) and Chris Lynch (right)

 

Compared to today, the image is comical - the first iteration was a small crew organizing and leading tours, cleaning gear and scheduling more tours on a cell phone whenever they had a free moment. At times it was brutal, but they soon realized something special was happening.

Things went quick. The storage unit was replaced by a shop, a few more people joined the crew, they got some more gear and started looking like a real business. This was the big-leagues, they thought. This was success.

 

Big-league success for the salty crew

But in time, they outgrew the first shop and found a bigger space. And then they outgrew the second shop. And the third. Now the location now is bigger and better than it’s ever been.

All the while something else was in development. There was another unique opportunity - visitors from all over the world were visiting the shop and getting a taste of the California people know and love. Mike and Chris wanted to leave them with more than just a great memory, something tangible as well.

This was the full realization of Everyday California’s growth. It’s transformed from an adventure company into a full-blown lifestyle brand, making waves in the community and spreading good vibes across the globe through an awesome selection of California designed apparel.

 

The current Everyday California shop in La Jolla, CA

 

This is the Everyday California of today. It stands for all things CA: from North to South, from massive forests full of towering Sequoias to rocky beaches with walking access only, from the tech giants in Silicon valley to mom and-pop stores selling overstuffed sandwiches down the street from our shop.

We hope you’ll join us in our mission to share California with the rest of the world.

 

See what the LA Times calls the best of San Diego.

Hats that will make your head spin.

Or heads that will make your hat spin? Click on the brim of the hat to see our full headwear collection!

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____________________________________________

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____________________________________________

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____________________________________________

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____________________________________________

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____________________________________________

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____________________________________________

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4 Responses

Rhonda Pollard
Rhonda Pollard

May 15, 2018

🚨 The “Sunscreen Bill” is NOT law yet. Governor Ige still needs to sign it! Whether you live in Hawaii or love Hawaii – he needs to hear from you. This bill can be a springboard for action across the world! Take a moment, let him know you support him signing SB2571 to protect Hawaii people, corals, marine life from toxic chemicals Oxybenzone & Octinoxate. Mahalo! Contact here: governor.hawaii.gov/contact-us/comments-on-legislation/

Rhonda Pollard
Rhonda Pollard

May 14, 2018

Aloha from the Big Island and mahalo for bringing attention to these toxic ingredients in many sunscreens. Here in Kailua-Kona, a volunteer group has been educating visitors at the most popular snorkeling spot, Kahaluu, about the effects of oxybenzone and octinoxate to our health and coral reefs. Even some of the snorkel cruise boats now offer free “coral-safe” bottles of sunscreen on deck. I was recently on one of the boats, and the captain made an announcement about the sunscreen and using it instead of toxic ones will protect the coral reefs, and I watched as people slathered on their Banana Boat and Coppertone, and I very nicely explained to them about the sunscreen and could not believe the responses: “Any other sunscreen makes me break out.” “I like the smell of my sunscreen.” Yikes! I think it’s a matter of education. We just have to show aloha and keep educating, and we really appreciate you spreading the word, Trey. I think you’ll see more states follow suit, and you’ll see more “reef-safe” sunscreens produced, but please check the ingredients to make sure they really are free of bad juju ingredients. Like, it may not have oxybenzone and octinoxate, but just make sure they aren’t substituting something else harmful. Health/natural food stores are a good bet to find non-toxic sunscreens, and you can probably try them on, too (Some of them are super goopy, but there are others like by EltaMD that are awesome!). Many mahalos for your kokua!

Trey Leslie
Trey Leslie

May 04, 2018

Hey Sherry!
I’m not sure if I’ll write a follow up, but I found a good list at the bottom of this article:
http://www.travelandleisure.com/style/beauty/reef-safe-sunscreen#manda
Hope it helps!

Sherry
Sherry

May 04, 2018

Can you give us a follow up article listing sunscreen brands that won’t harm oceans?

Leave a comment


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