07 • 30 • 2019

Surf Brands Support First Ever National Ban on Toxic Sunscreens, Now It’s Your Turn!

By Katie Day

Our reefs are under assault. While some threats like ocean warming and acidification are global in scale and complicated to solve, the threats posed by oxybenzone and octinoxate are local and immediately preventable. It's time we protect these critical ecosystems. Support the first ever federal bill to protect coral reefs in National Marine Sanctuaries from harmful sunscreen chemicals.

With the growing awareness and research on marine impacts from popular chemical sunscreen ingredients, it’s no surprise that people around the world, from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, have taken action to protect their valuable coral reefs by banning sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. 

While coral reefs in tropical areas provide critical economic, ecological and recreational value to island communities; reefs in deep sea and cold water environments are also essential for healthy marine life near and far. These reefs support commercially-viable fish, marine mammals such as whales and dolphins, sea birds, and so much more. This is especially true in areas determined to be some of the most culturally and ecologically-valuable environments in the U.S., our National Marine Sanctuaries.

National Marine Sanctuaries are so spectacular that they warrant national protection in perpetuity, yet current policies allow their exposure to known harmful chemicals during coastal and ocean recreation. There are hundreds of alternative and highly effective sunscreen options already on the market. There is no need to expose ourselves and our marine life to these harmful chemical sunscreens.

The Surfrider Foundation and our surf and outdoor industry friends agree that it’s time that we protect and enjoy these majestic places from harmful sunscreens. An impressive list of companies have signed a letter of support for the bipartisan bill, HR 1834, to prohibit the use of sunscreen containing oxybenzone or octinoxate in National Marine Sanctuaries containing coral. Signatories include Billabong, Firewire Surfboards, Patagonia, REEF, ROXY, RVCA, Sisstrevolution, SURFER Magazine and more!

Many skincare companies are working tirelessly to convince our federal officials in the House of Representatives that this bill is not supported by the private sector. That is just not the case. Fortunately, eco-conscious and proactive skincare companies like REN Skincare and TropicSport have also signed on to support efforts to protect coral reefs in our National Marine Sanctuaries.

Now it’s your chance. Add your company’s name to the growing list of businesses that support HR 1834. Not a business owner? No worries, just pass this on up to your boss and encourage them to sign on. Whether big or small, your company’s support will show our federal leaders that this bill does in fact have support from the private sector, and we all care about the protection of our coral reefs.

On an individual level, just click here to take action and ask your elected official in the House of Representatives to support HR 1834 to protect our reefs.

Learn more about Surfrider’s campaign to Protect Coral Reefs from Harmful Sunscreens in National Marine Sanctuaries