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Megan McCurdy and Logan T. Fancher of Stinson LLP have stepped in to defend Edgewell Personal Care in a pending class action over its Banana Boat Reef Friendly sunscreen line. The suit, filed by Faruqi & Faruqi in California Central District Court, contends that the defendant failed to disclose that its sunscreens contain chemicals which are hazardous to coral reefs. The case, assigned to U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer, is 2:21-cv-07100, Mary Condreay v. Edgewell Personal Care Brands, LLC.
This suit was surfaced by Law.com Radar, a source for high-speed legal news and litigation updates personalized to your practice. Law.com Radar publishes daily updates on just-filed federal cases like this one. to get started and be first to know about new suits in your region, practice area or client sector.
Whats The Difference Between Reef
Wouldnt it be nice though, if either reef-safe or reef-friendly labels would be able to help you find a sunscreen formula thats actually safe for humans too?
Unfortunately, with no regulation reef-safe and reef-friendly are used synonymously and neither of them means anything.
This is so unfortunate because 10 years ago, buying a sunscreen that said reef-safe gave you about a 95-99% chance that it would not only protect the coral reefs but also be safe for your childrens endocrine system, as well as being anti-carcinogenic as opposed to potentially causing cancer.
Now however the waters are murkier. If my eye is drawn to the words reef-safe or reef-friendly, in a product description or packaging, I know that I have about a 50/50 chance of passing my standards.
If you think youre in the clear as long as you buy a sunscreen labeled reef-safe, think again, Craig Downs, Ph.D. from Haereticus Labs says.
The federal government requires sunscreen claims to be truthful and not misleading, but the term reef-safe doesnt have an agreed-upon definition and therefore isnt strictly regulated by the government.
This means sunscreen manufacturers arent required to test and demonstrate that such products wont harm aquatic life, Downs says, and even if they did and found a sunscreen that passed this test, it might still be harmful if concentrations in the water got high enough.1
Supergoop Mineral Sheer Screen
Woman-founded Supergoops wide selection of products comes in to save face, feet and the vast expanse in between. The brand has everything from pearlescent sunscreen that hydrates skin and acts as a makeup primer and acai-tinged lip balm, to a genius mineral powder to shade your part and exposed scalp spots . We highly recommend the Mineral Sheer Screen, a broad-spectrum SPF 30 powered by zinc oxide that, despite going on white, doesnt leave even a hint of ghostly sheen for everyday use.
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What Sunscreen Ingredients Should You Avoid
Check ingredients of your sunscreen:
Oxybenzone, octinoxate, avobenzone and octocrylene are on the banned list of sunscreen ingredients in Hawaii.
Oxybenzone and octinoxate cause coral bleaching, which can stress, damage and ultimately kill coral.
Avobenzone and octocrylene are the chemicals you may still see in sunscreens and often are together. They still damage and cause toxic stress to coral and increases the risks of skin cancer and premature aging. These are
What Makes Sunscreen Reef
Time to get nerdy. Lets talk about chemicals.
The active ingredient in sunscreen acts as a UV filter. The most popular sunscreens contain chemical filters. The active-ingredient chemicals you will find listed are the following:
Signs like this one on Maui list all sunscreen chemicals, not just banned ones. Research hasnt been done to prove these chemicals damage reefs but environmental advocates recommend not using them.
Sunscreen manufacturers will use a combination of two to six of these chemicals.
Mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.
Some manufacturers use both chemicals and minerals. For example, the popular baby-safe sunscreen Coppertone Water Babies uses oxybenzone as the active ingredient and zinc oxide as the mineral base. It will be illegal to sell this sunscreen in Hawaii by January 1st, 2021.
The study by the non-profit Haereticus Environmental Laboratories in partnership with NOAA found oxybenzone and octinoxate to cause coral bleaching. The authors found that baby coral exposed to oxybenzone and octinoxate showed signs of distress, including coral bleaching.
Coral bleaching is a condition that doesnt kill coral but leaves it in severe stress, exposing it to infection and may lead to death. The chemicals also caused DNA damage and irregularities in their growth and skeleton.
412 pounds per day of sunscreen in Hanauma Bay, located in Oahu, where visitors average 2,600 swimmers daily.
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Why Is My Sunscreen Staining My Clothes
Sunscreen causing yellow stains on light-colored clothing is a common gripe. Nearly every chemical sunscreen for sale has the potential to cause staining, especially if you live in an area with hard water. A reaction between avobenzone and iron creates the stain, which is actually rust.
If you have trouble with sunscreen stains, consider wearing darker clothing to the beach, or switching to a mineral-based sunscreen. If you want to give up neither your white swimsuit nor your easy-to-apply sunscreen, Jolie Kerr, professional Clean Person, recommends a remover that can handle them, Carbona Stain Devils #9 Rust & Perspiration. Kerr also suggests going with a lotion sunscreen versus a spray oneits easier to avoid getting lotion on your clothing during application.
The Hawaii Sunscreen Ban
Did you know that in July 2018, Hawaii became the first state to pass a bill banning sunscreens that include chemicals believed to be harming the beautiful coral reefs that many locals and travelers like you come to admire?
Studies have shown that sunscreens including oxybenzone and octinoxate cause mortality in developing coral increase coral bleaching that indicates extreme stress, even at temperatures below 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit and cause genetic damage to coral and other marine organisms.
These chemicals have also been shown to degrade corals resiliency and ability to adjust to climate change factors and inhibit the recruitment of new corals.Furthermore, oxybenzone and octinoxate appear to increase the probability of endocrine disruption.
Of course, Hawaii wants to keep the coral safe, so they prohibit the sale and distribution of sunscreens that have these ingredients that are damaging to the aquatic environment unless you have a prescription from a licensed healthcare professional.
NOTE: This is NOT a ban on sunscreens in general. Sunscreens are necessary for skin health by blocking UV rays known to cause skin cancer with overexposure.So whats a responsible tourist to do?
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Hello Bello Mineral Sunscreen Spray
Not only is this SPF 30 sunscreen from Kristen Bell and Dax Shephards company reef-friendly, paraben-free, phthalate-free, and plant-based, but its also a spray, which comes in a non-aerosol bottle. The push-down button system makes for a controlled delivery so it wont end up polluting the air or the sand. The only drawback is it contains only 14 percent zinc oxide so youll have to reapply more frequently. Pair with the DEET-free bug repellent and there will be no end to the earth-friendly non-toxic outdoor adventures this summer.
Mama Kuleana Sunscreen Reviews
Heres another genuinely Hawaiian product with an equally Hawaiian name, kuleana, directly translated to mean right. Ultimately its a unique Hawaiian quality that means to take responsibility for self and community.
Mama Kuleana takes that responsibility seriously when it comes to protecting our skin and the environment as a whole.
With ingredients like organic shea butter, organic coconut oil, beeswax, organic almond oil, zinc powder, Vitamin E oil, and essential oils, Mama Kuleana includes no preservatives, toxins, fillers or additives, and even comes in a biodegradable container.
The company has thought about it all, and users are raving about their products too:
Brian on Facebook writes
Mama Kuleana is great for the environment and effective! Working on the beach everyday, one container lasted me over a month! Love the biodegradable container, too! The rash guard long sleeve is awesome! Can wear it even on hot sunny days! Appreciate the great product!
Jnett had this to say
I had the pleasure of vacationing in Maui for almost 2 weeks recently . I applied #MamaKuleana 2-3x a day & it lasted me the entire time. Im so happy we are all becoming aware of how important it is to protect our ocean, the animals that inhabit the ocean, our beaches, our planet. Thank you Hawaii & Mama Kuleana for leading the way on #reefsafesunscreen. BTW:my skin is glowing!!!
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Spread The Word And Advocate For Bans On Reef Harming Sunscreens
In addition to changing our actions and purchasing decisions to protect the marine environment, itâs also important to spread awareness about the issue to friends, family and community members. At the local level, ensure that your townâs stores are offering “reef friendly” sunscreen products, and encourage them to stop the sale of harmful products.
You can also advocate for local legislation that bans the sale and use of toxic sunscreens. For instance, in 2018, Hawaii passed the first ever statewide ban on oxybenzone and octinoxate sunscreens, soon after, island nations including Palau, Bonaire and Aruba followed suite. Due to widespread community support, the Florida Keys were also able to pass an oxybenzone and octinoxate sunscreen ban in Key West, but chemical companies have been working tirelessly to try and revoke this important legislation through the use of statewide preemption.
At the federal level, you can ask your federal representatives to support the first federal bill to ban oxybenzone and octinoxate sunscreens in National Marine Sanctuaries with coral reefs!
What Are The Best Reef Safe Sunscreens
So, now you know why you should only be using mineral based sunscreen, its time to figure out which ones are the best to use.
There are so many sunscreens out there to choose from you may need a little help in deciding which ones to go for. I have compiled a list of the best reef friendly sunscreens out there so you can choose which is the best one for your needs.
Read on to find out the best Hawaii approved sunscreen brands that are both safe and effective for you and you family, as well as being environmentally sound.
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Cest Moi Sunshine Sunscreen
This non-nano zinc oxide formula comes in face stick or lotion form. Its water-resistant for 40 minutes of sweating or swimming, and then youll need to reapply. Its made for faces and bodies, and it also features a supplementary super fruit antioxidant blend to defend your delicate dermis from the elements. Lower 48 customers can utilize the TerraCycle Cest Moi partnership to recycle plastic packaging.
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How To Avoid Too Much Sun
Getting some sun exposure is vital for good health because it helps your body create vitamin D. There are multiple ways to get vitamin D, but your best bet is to get it from standing in thesun or eatingvitamin D-rich foods. In fact, sitting in the sun unexposed for about 10 minutes helps your body create roughly 10,000 units of natural vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to certain cancers, autoimmune diseases, heart disease depression, osteoporosis and many other ailments, so its important to get enough. Like almost anything, though, you can get too much of a good thing and want to make sure you avoid sunburns.
You should consider sunscreen your last resort to prevent sunburns, though. In fact, theres no clear evidence that using sunscreens actually prevents skin cancer including in the best sunscreens and some ingredients may actually fuel skin cancer.
Avoiding overexposure during peak sunlight hours, use sunglasses, and sun-protective hats and clothing . These things reduce your risk of burns without sunscreen.
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Will Mineral Sunscreens Protect My Childrens Skin As Effectively As Chemical Sunscreens
While protecting the environment for most people is a high priority, the health of their children is more so. If youre worried that reef safe sunscreen may not be as effective at protecting you childs skin compared to chemical sunblocks then you need not worry.
Reef safe sunscreen is highly effective at protecting skin from the damage the sun can inflict, so there should be no concern that switching to reef safe sunscreen will be less effective.
Kokua Sun Care Zinc Sunscreen Spf 50
This SPF 50 sunblock contains 25 percent non-nano zinc oxide for 80 minutes of water resistance, a faint scent of coconut and vanilla, and 23 antioxidants to nourish the skin, including seven superfoods sourced from Hawaiian farms like Konared coffee fruit, macadamia nut oil, plumeria, spirulina, and noni juice, thus supporting local agricultural communities. Follow up exposure with the brands Healing Serum. It makes use of sustainably harvested anti-inflammatory sandalwood and kukui nut oil.
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The Truth About ‘reef Safe’ Sunscreen
Labels don’t tell the whole story. Heres how best to protect your skinand the environment.
When you shop through retailer links on our site, we may earn affiliate commissions. 100% of the fees we collect are used to support our nonprofit mission.Learn more.
In July of 2018, Hawaii became the first U.S. state to ban the sale of sunscreens containing two common chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, which many researchers worldwide have deemed potentially harmful to aquatic life.
And a city in Florida is taking a similar action: Officials in Key West voted this week to bar the sale of sunscreens with those ingredients. Both laws will go into effect in 2021.
But oxybenzone and octinoxatetwo of the most commonly used UV blockers worldwidearent the only ingredients that may be damaging to marine life.
In fact, says Craig A. Downs, Ph.D., executive director of the nonprofit Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, though oxybenzone and octinoxate are the most widely studied, there are several other chemicals used in sunscreens and other personal care products that research suggests might be an environmental threat. And even sunscreens labeled reef safe arent guaranteed to be harmless when they leach into underwater ecosystems.
Heres how to keep your skin safe from the sun without putting the environment at risk.
How Do Chemical Sunscreens Protect Your Skin Vs Mineral Sunscreens
Chemical Sun cream works by absorbing the UV rays and converting them to heat. The chemicals in these sunscreens then absorb the heat preventing them from penetrating peoples skin and causing damage.
Mineral based sunscreens however work differently. Titanium dioxide works by absorbing and scattering UV rays so they dont get absorbed by the skin. It is effective at deflecting both UVA and UVB rays. Zinc oxide works by reflecting both UVA and UVB rays to prevent them from penetrating the skin.
1. Baby Bum
Plant based and developed specifically for babies sensitive skin, this is one of the best sunscreens for babies around.
Whats even better is they have several options you can choose from depending on the type of sunscreen application you prefer.
They have normal a bottle for general application where you just squeeze the cream out, a spray alternative for people who prefer that and even a face stick, which makes applying the cream on those sensitive face areas easy.
This sunscreen is SPF50, so it provides high protection for your babys delicate skin.
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Reef Repair Suncream Spf 30 $15
This SPF 30+ Suncream from Reef Repair provides SPF 30 protection for adults and kids ages six months and over, and is 100% reef safe and nontoxic to aquatic plants and animals, including coral reefs. Made with natural and organic ingredients that are gentle on the skin, this water-based formula goes on easy and spreads evenly without leaving a white residue.
This is a fantastic cream! Not only is it reef-safe, it performs super well. Goes on like most sun screens you might be familiar with. Rub it in well and youre good to go for beach chilling, snorkeling, or diving. says Aboud in their product review.
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Reef Safe Sunscreens Brands
My husband and I are very pale people so we usually use 45 spf or higher sunscreen when in tropical areas. Been seeing a lot of suggestions about using reef safe sunscreens while in Maui waters, so I went over to Amazon and did a search on them. I must admit I was surprised by the variety. So my question is this– Do you have recommendations as to which are the best protection for our skin and the ocean? Are there any that you’d suggest we should stay away from?
I have been looking into reef-safe sunscreens as well. There are tons of articles on the subject such as this one below which says in part:
“The U.S. National Park Service recommends using reef-friendly sunscreen made with titanium oxide or zinc oxide, instead of oxybenzone. “
The link to the EWG website is contained within the article at the link below.
Beauty By Earth is my favorite. My family has been using it our last couple trips and it works well.
Thanks! I’ve jotted down what the sunscreen should and shouldn’t contain and Beauty by Earth and Tropical Sands to check out again at Amazon.
Nothing can ruin a vacation like a bad sunburn.
I used Absolutely Natural , we bought it while on Maui..I believe Amazon sells it..
Thanks! Duly noted for the shopping list!
A little late, but try Raw Elements USA rawelementsusa.com Many in Hawaii use it. Reef Safe, nonGMO, Certified Natural, very water resistant, never stings lotion and tinted stick are awesome.
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