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Hawaii Bans Usage Of Sunscreen To Protect Coral Reefs

In a bid to protect and preserve their main tourist attractions—namely the coral reefs—David Ige, Hawaii’s Governor, has put into effect the world’s first ban concerning use of sunscreen in the region. Sunscreen contains harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, which pose a great threat to the coral system. Up to 70% of sunscreens sold in U.S consist of oxybenzone, while 8% contain octinoxate. With the law coming into effect, sunscreen manufacturers are expected to search for alternative sunscreen formulae.

Consumer Healthcare Products Association’s regulatory affairs director Jay Sirois stated that he was against the banning of products considered as effective against sun damage and skin cancer. Both these chemicals, in spite of regular clearances by FDA, are quite harmful, with oxybenzone causing baby coral deaths and octinoxate leading to coral bleaching. Sirois also pointed out that the researches were carried out in laboratories, which led to the researchers neglecting other possible factors such as global warming and pollution. However, Craig Downs, a biologist who carried out the research, insisted that sunscreens threaten coral reefs and added that loss of coral reefs will ultimately lower the attraction of the place as a tourist spot. This has led to other spots such as Bonnaire, a Caribbean island, following suit. However, Lisa Chipps, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills, remarked that the ban was premature and would confuse regular users of sunscreen who are recommended to apply it. Downs suggests use of minerals like titanium oxide and zinc oxide, as well as wearing clothes having sun-blocking fabric. Chipps, however, insists otherwise.

Hawaii’s other attraction, the Kilauea volcano, is having a continuous lava flow for quite some time. The U.S Geological Survey has identified a strange formation among the lava flow as an accretionary lava ball. Such lava balls have a size of few inches to up to 10 feet in width. The lava ball observed in this case is assumed to be larger than 10 feet in terms of width. However, further attempts to get information regarding the lava ball went unanswered by USGS researchers.

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