Chemicals In Sunscreen Are Harming Coral Reefs, Says New Study
New research about sunscreen’s damaging effects on coral reefs suggests that you might want to think twice before slathering it on.
Reports about the harmful environmental effects of certain chemicals in the water have been circulated for years, but according to the authors of a new study released Tuesday, the chemicals in even one drop of sunscreen are enough to damage fragile coral reef systems. Some 14,000 tons of sunscreen lotions wind up in coral reefs around the world each year.
The ingredient oxybenzone leaches the coral of its nutrients and bleaches it white. It can also disrupt the development of fish and other wildlife.
Scientists conducted the new study in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii and Israel, but reefs all over the world are at risk, according to a 2011 report by the World Resource Institute.