Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Reef Relief: How to Help Our Seas This Summer; KATIE WRIGHT Asks the Experts to Explain Why Traditional SPF Products Are Bad News for the Environment

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Reef Relief: How to Help Our Seas This Summer; KATIE WRIGHT Asks the Experts to Explain Why Traditional SPF Products Are Bad News for the Environment

Article excerpt

Byline: KATIE WRIGHT

IN May last year, Hawaii started a trend by announcing a ban of sunscreens that contain chemicals believed to contribute to coral bleaching when they wash off into the sea.

The Republic of Palau announced the same ban six months later, and in February this year the city of Key West in America followed suit, in order to protect the barrier reef - one of the world's largest - that is found six miles off the Florida Keys.

The bans are yet to come into effect, but sun cream manufacturers are already responding to the news, producing products that won't harm reefs.

Mathilde "For my new suncare range, I didn't want to compromise between protecting the skin and protecting nature," says Mathilde Thomas, founder of Caudalie.

"Most brands on sale contain two filters that damage and cause the beaching of coral; oxybenzone and octinoxate.

"These ingredients are cheap and effective, but they have an impact in the marine ecosystem."

Green People has introduced a range that doesn't contain the two main culprit ingredients, and eradicates an additional chemical that's dangerous for marine life.

Charlotte "It's estimated that around 10,000 tons of UV filters are produced annually and, on average, about 25% of the sunscreen ingredients applied to skin are released in the water over the course of a 20-minute swim," says Charlotte Vohtz, founder and managing director for Green People.

"Another ingredient in sun creams that is raising concern is ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate.

"Studies have shown that this chemical ingredient is a hormonedisrupting chemical which mimics oestrogen and could genetically alter the gender of fish." Some elements of traditional sunblock can be potentially harmful for humans, too.

Thomas "After examining 25 molecules authorised in Europe, we have eliminated all chemical filters suspected of disrupting the endocrine system, such as octinoxate, octocrylene and nanoparticle filters," Mathilde explains. …

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