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Is Your Sunscreen Harming Ocean Life?
Your sunscreen could be toxic — to you and to the environment. How? Because it might contain oxybenzone, a chemical filter found in many popular cosmetics, especially sunscreens — 80% of them to be exact. And its main purpose? To absorb UV rays. But it’s harmful, both to our bodies after we apply it, and most immediately to our oceans — where it ultimately ends up.
In fact, an alarming 14,000 tons of sunscreen containing the toxic chemical, oxybenzone, end up in our oceans each year. Once there, it bleaches coral, prevents the growth of new baby coral and alters coral’s DNA. The negative effects of oxybenzone in the oceans continue to multiply as many organisms, (and we!) depend on the life of these coral reefs.
It takes about one drop of oxybenzone per six and a half Olympic-sized pools to cause serious damage. And it’s not only damaging to coral, but the many species of marine life that live in them and depend on them to thrive.
And because the food chain is, well, the food chain, this ultimately affects many more species, including these: