Hawaii Act 104: Everything You Need to Know
Hawaii is known for its stunning natural beauty, including its pristine beaches and vibrant coral reefs. However, in recent years, these ecosystems have come under threat from the harmful effects of certain chemicals found in many sunscreens. Oxybenzone and octinoxate, two common ingredients in chemical sunscreens, have been linked to coral bleaching, a process that can ultimately kill coral reefs and harm other marine life.
In response to this threat, Hawaii passed Act 104 in 2018, which banned the sale of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. The goal of the legislation was to protect the state's coral reefs and other marine ecosystems from the harmful effects of these chemicals, while still ensuring that visitors and residents had access to safe and effective sun protection.
The passage of Hawaii Act 104 was a major milestone in the global effort to protect coral reefs and other marine ecosystems from the harmful effects of sunscreens. The law has since inspired similar legislation in other parts of the world, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, Palau, and Key West, Florida.
While the ban on oxybenzone and octinoxate has been widely praised by environmental advocates, it has also raised concerns about its impact on the tourism industry and on consumer choice. Some have argued that the ban could deter visitors from coming to Hawaii, or that it could limit consumer access to certain types of sunscreens.
Despite these concerns, many sunscreen manufacturers have risen to the challenge of creating products that meet the requirements of Hawaii Act 104. By using natural, mineral-based ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, these companies have produced sunscreens that are safe for coral reefs and other marine life, while still providing effective sun protection for their customers.
At Surface Sunscreens, we are proud to be part of this effort. All of our sunscreens meet the requirements of Hawaii Act 104, and we are committed to producing products that are safe for the environment and our customers. We believe that it is possible to balance the need for sun protection with the need to protect the environment, and we are dedicated to doing our part to achieve this balance.
In this blog, we will take a closer look at Hawaii Act 104, exploring the history of the bill, how it is intended to work, and the pros and cons of the legislation. We will also discuss how Surface Sunscreens has responded to the ban on oxybenzone and octinoxate by producing sunscreens that are safe for coral reefs and other marine life. By the end of this blog, you will have a better understanding of the importance of protecting Hawaii's natural resources and the role that sunscreen manufacturers can play in this effort.
History of the Bill:
The bill was introduced by Hawaii State Senator Mike Gabbard, who is also a member of the State Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment. Gabbard has been a longtime advocate for environmental protection and has championed several other bills to protect Hawaii's natural resources.
The bill was inspired by a study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Hawaii, which found that oxybenzone and octinoxate are toxic to coral reefs and marine life. The study estimated that around 14,000 tons of sunscreen enter the world's oceans every year, and that this pollution is contributing to the decline of coral reefs around the world.
The bill faced opposition from the sunscreen industry and some lawmakers who argued that the ban would hurt the tourism industry and limit consumer choice. However, the bill ultimately passed with overwhelming support from the state legislature.
How Act 104 is Intended to Work:
Act 104 bans the sale of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate in Hawaii. The ban went into effect on January 1, 2021, but it does not apply to prescription sunscreens or to other products that do not contain these chemicals.
The goal of the ban is to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals that are entering Hawaii's marine ecosystem, which is home to some of the world's most diverse and fragile coral reefs. Coral reefs are important ecosystems that provide habitat for thousands of marine species, and they also protect coastal areas from storms and erosion.
The ban is intended to encourage consumers to switch to sunscreens that are made with alternative ingredients that are safer for the environment. There are many alternatives to oxybenzone and octinoxate, including zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are effective at blocking harmful UV rays without harming coral reefs.
Pros of Act 104:
The primary benefit of Act 104 is that it will help to protect Hawaii's coral reefs and marine ecosystem from further damage. Coral reefs are important ecosystems that are under threat from a variety of human activities, including overfishing, pollution, and climate change. By reducing the amount of harmful chemicals that are entering Hawaii's marine environment, Act 104 will help to preserve these fragile ecosystems for future generations.
In addition to protecting the environment, Act 104 is also expected to have positive public health benefits. Oxybenzone and octinoxate have been linked to a variety of health concerns, including hormone disruption and allergic reactions. By encouraging consumers to switch to alternative sunscreens, the ban could help to reduce these health risks.
Cons of Act 104:
One of the main concerns about Act 104 is that it could have a negative impact on the tourism industry in Hawaii. Sunscreen is an essential item for many tourists, who visit the state to enjoy its beautiful beaches and sunny weather. Some opponents of the ban argue that it will make it more difficult for tourists to find sunscreens that meet their needs, and that this could lead to a decline in tourism.
Another concern about the ban is that it could limit consumer choice. While there are many alternatives to oxybenzone and octinoxate, some consumers may prefer sunscreens that contain these chemicals. The ban could make it more difficult for these consumers to find the products they want, and this could be seen as an infringement on their personal freedoms.
Surface Sunscreen and Hawaii Act 104:
At Surface Sunscreens, we are committed to producing sunscreen products that are safe for the environment and effective for our customers. In response to the passage of Hawaii Act 104, we have worked hard to create products that meet the requirements of the legislation, including the ban on oxybenzone and octinoxate.
In addition to using safe ingredients, we also use eco-friendly packaging for our sunscreens. Our bottles are made from recycled materials, and they are designed to be easily recyclable once they are empty. We also use biodegradable packaging materials whenever possible, to minimize our impact on the environment.
We are proud to say that all of our sunscreens meet the requirements of Hawaii Act 104, and we encourage our customers to choose these products when visiting the state. By using sunscreen products that are safe for the environment, we can all do our part to protect Hawaii's precious coral reefs and other marine ecosystems.
But our commitment to the environment goes beyond meeting the requirements of Hawaii Act 104. We are constantly looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact and promote sustainability in all aspects of our business. For example, we have implemented recycling programs at our facilities and have reduced our energy use through the installation of energy-efficient lighting and appliances.
We also work with our suppliers to source materials that are environmentally responsible, and we are committed to reducing waste and minimizing our carbon footprint wherever possible. Our goal is to be a leader in sustainability and environmental responsibility within the sunscreen industry, and we are continually striving to improve our practices and products.
Hawaii Act 104 is an important step forward in protecting the environment and preserving Hawaii's beautiful coral reefs. By banning the sale of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, the state is sending a clear message that it is committed to safeguarding its natural resources for future generations.
While there are concerns about the impact of the ban on the tourism industry and on consumer choice, these issues can be addressed through education and outreach efforts. By helping consumers understand the importance of using safe and effective sunscreens, and by providing them with alternative products that meet their needs, we can ensure that everyone can enjoy Hawaii's beautiful beaches without harming the environment.
At Surface Sunscreens, we are proud to be part of this effort. By producing products that are safe for coral reefs and other marine life, we are doing our part to protect the environment and support the goals of Hawaii Act 104. We encourage all of our customers to choose these products when visiting Hawaii, and to join us in our commitment to environmental protection.