VIDEO: Hawaiʻi’s New Law Requires Reef-Safe Sunscreens; Free Informational Materials Available for the Public
Starting Jan. 1, 2021, a new state law goes into effect in Hawaiʻi that prohibits the sale, offer of sale, and distribution of sunscreens that contain the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. The law’s purpose is to preserve marine ecosystems, including coral reefs.
The nonprofit Maui Nui Marine Resource Council (MNMRC), with support from the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, is offering free materials to educate visitors and residents about this transition and encourage them to curtail use of sunscreens they already own that containing oxybenzone and octinoxate.
MNMRC offers wallet-sized sunscreen information cards with friendly, simple explanations that are free to Maui businesses and concierges for distribution to the public.
“The cards require very little space on a counter or desk yet provide all of the information needed to help a guest or customer avoid reef-harming oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals that have been proven to harm or kill corals,” says Anne Rillero, Communications, Community Outreach and Development Manager at Maui Nui Marine Resource Council.
For those with more space, Maui Nui Marine Resource Council is offering free 8 1/2” x 11” color posters, with the message “Get a Jump on Protecting Maui’s Coral Reefs: Make the Sunscreen Switch Today.”
Maui Nui Marine Resource Council has also produced a short video about sunscreen choices which can be viewed and shared at https://youtu.be/nz-XTbFYlBY
The organization provides a website page that offers details on safer-for-the-reef sunscreens at https://www.mauireefs.org/sunscreens/.
Maui Nui Marine Resource Council has also printed bumperstickers, with the message, “Show some love for Maui’s corals. Choose reef-safe sunscreen” that are offered free to the public.
To arrange for any of these free materials, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the name of your business, resort or vacation rental, along with your name and contact information, and the items requested.
Maui Nui Marine Resource Council has installed large scale window signage at Kahului Airport to educate arriving visitors about sunscreen choices that protect coral reefs. Earlier this year, MNMRC installed educational signage about coral reefs at 39 Maui beaches that includes information about sunscreens.
“Coral reefs in Hawaii and around the world are under stress due to warming ocean waters, sediment runoff, pollution and other human-related causes,” said Robin Newbold, co-founder and chair of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council. “While it’s important that we tackle those issues, switching to a more environmentally friendly sunscreen now is an easy way for individuals and families to help protect the reefs.”
Newbold noted that new sunscreen products made without oxybenzone and octinoxate are readily available and easy to use.