Coral Reef Safe Sunblock and How it Can Save Our Oceans

The world is a beautiful place. It is full of large mountain ranges and intricate valleys. One of the earth’s most beautiful features is coral reefs. Their beautiful colors and extensive structures are remarkable to see while snorkeling or scuba diving. Sunscreen, however, is proving to be a threat to the coral reefs. Many coral reefs around the world are dying because of common sunscreens people wear. Luckily, there is coral reef safe sunblock that both protects people from UV rays and is safe for the oceans. 

How is Sunblock Hurting the Coral Reefs?

Many popular sunscreens contain toxic chemicals that harm the coral reefs. The biggest culprit is a chemical called oxybenzone. Oxybenzone causes endocrine disruption within the coral reefs which throws off the balance of the reefs. It can also damage the DNA within the coral reefs and will eventually kill the beautiful structures. Also, oxybenzone bleaches the coral reefs which causes the reefs to lose their color. 

How Does Oxybenzone Spread?

The ocean is ever flowing, and people enjoy taking a dip in water when at the beach. The water washes off the sunscreen and oxybenzone from beach patrons and it ends up in the coral reefs. It was reported that 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen were washed into the coral reefs in one year. It doesn’t take a lot of sunscreen to have a toxic effect on the coral reefs. A dot of sunblock the size of a water droplet is all it takes to begin harming the coral reefs. The amount of people swimming in the oceans combined with how easily the coral is damaged kills the coral reefs quickly. 

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Coral Reef Safe Sunblock

A common misconception is that environmentally safe sunblock’s are expensive. That is not the case. Many coral reef safe sunblock’s are reasonably priced and can be found in stores and online. That being said, there are also a lot of different brands that produce sunblock specifically to protect the coral reefs. It is a big issue that many people are listening to, so major companies have obliged. 

The Main Ingredient

The problem with regular sunblock is that the chemicals added to it are toxic to the coral reefs. The key to making sunblock that is safe for the coral reefs is to use natural elements. Zinc-based sunblock is the most common type of coral reef safe sunscreen. Zinc is a natural element that is found all over the earth. Since it is so common, it won’t disrupt the hormonal balances of the coral reefs. Natural elements are made of parts of the earth, which means they won’t conflict with other natural features. Any sunscreen that contains natural elements should be safe for the coral reefs. When a sunblock has many artificial chemicals, they won’t mesh well with the natural elements around the sunscreen. 

Conclusion

The oceans provide shelter to many creatures and is considered home to millions of people. Protecting the coral reefs, which are an important and beautiful feature of the oceans, is crucial. One simple way people can do their part to protect the coral reefs is by wearing coral reef safe sunblock. It is easy to find and not any more expensive than regular sunblock. When it comes down to it, coral reef safe sunblock is a reasonable solution to a problem that affects us all.    

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Bailey Longhurst
 

I am amazed every day by the beauty that this world provides for us and think it is important to preserve it! Taking care of ourselves and our earth is crucial and I want to help people discover new ways to do both. Publishing for Green and Growing is a unique way that I can get my message across, and I hope you all enjoy what we write about!

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