Nature speaks to those who listen. And lately, it hasn't been hard to hear her; Mother Earth has been loud! Our planet is living and breathing, shifting and growing. Here on the islands it’s impossible not to feel the effects of the recent earthquakes, floods and volcanoes that have literally shaken the island and its residents. Mother Nature is a powerful force and yes, we’ve witnessed the destruction caused by these natural disasters. And, we’ve also seen our community come together in response, to care for each other and the planet. There’s much to be grateful for, and hope is alive! Case in point, the passing of Senate Bill 2571.
Gov. David Ige's final act of signing SB 2571 into state law prohibits the sale, offer of sale, and distribution of sunscreens that contain the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. “Studies have documented the negative impact of these chemicals on corals and other marine life,” said Gov. Ige. “Our natural environment is fragile, and our own interaction with the earth can have lasting impacts. This new law is just one step toward protecting the health and resiliency of Hawai‘i’s coral reefs.”
Hawaii is the first state in the country to pass such a law. In fact, as Senator Mike Gabbard pointed out, “Amazingly, this is a first-in-the-world law.” Our coral reefs are natural treasures, enjoyed by all the generations before us and hopefully those to come. They protect our coastline, provide a nutrient rich home for our fish and sea-life, as well as draw people from around the world to the islands to behold their underwater beauty.
As of now, the very existence of our coral reefs are in at risk. Studies have found that the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are used in more than 3,500 of the world's most popular sunscreen products, leach the coral of its nutrients and bleaches it white. Coral is a living organism. Even minimal amounts of exposure of these chemicals are enough to cause the reefs to die off. Unbeknownst to most, the beloved coral reefs vacationers travel great distances to see are put in harm’s way by the dangers posed by the sunscreens they use. -And to be fair, it’s not just tourists who are responsible for the approximately 14,000 tons of sunscreen that end up in coral reefs each year. We locals have an even greater responsibility to protect our reefs while we protect our skin from the sun.
Hawaii State Rep. Chris Lee (D) said in a statement that “in my lifetime, our planet has lost about half its coral reefs. We’ve got to take action to make sure we can protect the other half as best we can because we know that time is against us.”
The most common sunscreens on the market contain chemical filters. These products typically include a combination of two to six of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.
If these common chemicals are killing our reefs, it begs the question, what are they doing to our own bodies? According to US National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health in humans, oxybenzone & octinoxate are endocrine disruptors and linked to Hirschsprung's disease as well as cause allergic reactions. What most people don’t consider is that their exposure is increased by the closed loop of ingesting fish contaminated with oxybenzone & octinoxate as well as washing the ingredients off our bodies and having it return in drinking water. Treatment plants do not effectively remove these chemical as part of their processing protocols.
What to do? Well, as Theodore Roosevelt wisely said “do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Thankfully we have the knowledge, resources, and choice to protect our bodies, the coral reefs, and the ecosystems that bind us. Using non-toxic, chemical-free sunscreen is one very important step in promoting the health of our bodies and a clean planet. We at Honey Girl Organics are celebrating SB2571. We never have and never will use chemicals in any of our products. Afterall, we are part of the natural world we are committed to protect. That was the inspiration for the Protect Stick. It’s the latest addition to our skin care line. Its unique formula will enhance your skin’s ability to protect itself in all elements, including sun, wind, weather, water, & pollution. You can breathe a sigh of relief that as it’s protecting you, it’s also protecting our Mother Earth too. To learn more about Protect, click here.