Environmental protection - These tourist destinations banish sunblock 2

Environmental protection – These tourist destinations banish sunblock

According to statistics, 58 million packs of sunscreen were sold in Germany between May 2018 and April 2019. What doesn't seem like much – compared to population figures, it's not even a per-consumer package. But parts of what is smeared on the skin end up in the sea – an estimated 14,000 tonnes a year in the world. And some resources contain ingredients that threaten the ecosystem. Therefore, some countries have decided to ban tanning products with these substances.

Why can sunscreen hurt?

Part of what we spoil on our skin dissolves during bathing and enters the sea. NOOA has determined that substances such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocryl, benzophenone-1 *, benzophenone-8, OD-PABA, enzymes (4-methylbenzylidene camphor), 3-benzylidene camphor (3-BP), nano-titanium dioxide and nano Zinc oxide can damage the ecosystem (Note: Not all of these substances are contained in German or European sunscreens). So can u.a. growth of green algae is impeded, coral whitening and impaired fish fertility are enhanced.

What can passengers do?

It's not about sunscreen in general, it's about the ingredients listed. In the future, it is recommended to use more environmentally friendly creams. Mineral-based agents such as zinc oxide block the sun's rays, they are not absorbed by the skin (they form a white layer that reflects the sun's rays like a mirror) and do not damage corals. Tip: Access creams with a natural cosmetic seal and make sure they are not nano-particles – you can see the note "nano" in the list of contents).

These countries and regions release sunscreen:

Virgin Islands

On June 25, a decision was made to throw out common chemical sunscreens that can damage coral reefs. In particular, it is about oxybenzone. octocrylene and octyl methoxycinnamate, Imports of creams containing these substances have been banned since September 30 – the sale, possession and use ban has been applied since March 30, 2020. The Virgin Islands are among the first regions in the U.S. to accede to this measure. Over 3,500 sunscreens worldwide contain oxybenzone, according to a study by the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory Virginia. "We have lost at least 80 percent of the coral reefs in the Caribbean," said lead author Dr. Craig Downs.


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Sunbathing – yes! But soon only with eco-friendly sunblockPhoto by Getty Images

As the first US state, Hawaii releases sunscreens that contain coral-damaging substances oxybenzone and octyl methoxycinnamate involved. The new law enters into force on January 1, 2021. According to the National Park Administration, 6,000 to 14,000 tonnes of sunscreen enter coral reefs annually. The new law will ensure that reefs are protected from hazardous chemicals. Products containing these substances will no longer be available for purchase in stores. Hawaii.com also advises against using mineral oils and titanium dioxide and publishes a list of environmentally friendly products.

Key West (Florida)

This is the third largest coral reef in the world – enough reason for the City Commission to ban the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. The law enters into force on January 1, 2021.


The Caribbean also emits sunblock containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. The exact time is still open, but the law is likely to take effect on January 1, 2021. Products can no longer be sold.


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When diving with lots of skin, the cream is washed off the skin and finished in the seaPhoto by Getty Images

Micronesia's 500 island state was the first state to ban sunscreens – the law goes into effect on January 1, 2020. Again, agents containing oxybenzone and octinoxate are affected, but other ingredients (octocters, enzacene, triclosan, methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, benzylparaben, and phenoxyethanol) are also prohibited. It is prohibited to import, buy, sell, import or manufacture products containing these substances. Anyone who violates this should expect a fine of up to $ 1,000.


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Photo by Getty Images / Glowimages RF

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Some areas in Mexico, such as Cancún, participate in the banPhoto by Getty Images / Glowimages RF

Not the whole country, but popular holiday destinations throw out dangerous ingredients. These include the Riviera Maya, including Cancún, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel, and water parks such as Xcaret Park, Xel Ha and Garrafon Natural Reef Park. To avoid distracting them with the astronomical prices of eco-friendly sunscreens, it is recommended to bring them home. (sb)

Oxybenzone and octinoxate

oxybenzone belongs to the group of so-called substituted Benofenones. Used as a broadband filter for UV-B and UV-A radiation. The chemical compound is insoluble in water. According to the NOAA study, it contains over 3500 products on the skin and increases coral bleaching, altering DNA and coral growth.

octyl methoxycinnamate (also known as ethylhexylmethodincinamate – EMHC or octyl medoxyquinamate) is used to absorb, reflect, or scatter UV radiation. It is insoluble in water and can be harmful to aquatic life. Studies show that it also affects the estrogen hormone system.