Sunscreen bill still alive this legislative session
It protects our skin but could it be harming our reefs? Some preliminary research shows the chemical oxybenzone found in some sunscreens may be to blame.
HONOLULU - It protects our skin but could it be harming our reefs? Some preliminary research shows the chemical oxybenzone found in some sunscreens may be to blame.
This year's legislative session wraps up in about two weeks and one of the bills still alive proposes banning the sale of those sunscreens.
The bill has gone through several drafts this session, as of now some lawmakers are skeptical, suggesting more studies be conducted first.
Senator Will Espero introduced the bill and disagrees with some of the amendments.
"We could do a study but that would mean everything would be delayed for another 10 to 12 months. Many of us believe that we need to take action now," Senator Will Espero said.
Existing studies discovered the chemical can cause deformities in coral larvae and increase the rate of coral bleaching.
Senator Espero's hopeful some aspect of the bill will pass. He said educating the public is key.
"I could see us working with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, with hotels, the airlines to get the message out there to visitors and users to let them know that oxybenzone is harmful to our coral," Espero explained.
KITV hit the beach to see if beachgoers were aware of what's in their sunscreen.
Ingrid Stern is visiting Hawaii from California and was unaware the chemical was in her lotion.
"Pretty shocking to hear that. Whatever they can do to advertise or put information or warning on the bottle...I think that would be very helpful," said Stern.
Sunscreen Marzie Maugaotega's family uses doesn't contain the chemical. The Kalihi native fully supports a ban.
"Our environment is key for Hawaii so we as islanders need to help and keep Hawaii, Hawaii and not let it deteriorate," said Maugaotega.
If the bill passes, Hawaii would be the first state to implement a measure. On the market, oxybenzone free lotions already exist.
"The world and the sunscreen industry is watching what Hawaii does," said Espero.