It's getting to that time of year where just stepping one foot outside you get sunburned; especially in Texas. So let's say you go to your closest Walmart or H-E-B and pick up the first few bottles you see such as: Banana Boat, Sun Bum or Coppertone. But sadly these sunscreens contain chemicals that are killing our coral reefs.
Most sunscreens contain chemicals that are unhealthy for the ocean such as : octocrylene, octisalate, homosalate, octinoxate, and last but, most common is oxybenzone. These chemicals can be found under the "active ingredients" section on the back of the sunscreen bottle.
I bet you are wondering why these chemicals are bad at this point. Well when we get into the ocean, the chemicals on our skin come off into the water. With these chemicals in the water they start the process of bleaching our coral. When coral is bleached it turns a pale white color and cannot reproduce because it is considered dead. With this coral dead it starts to break off and this causes sea animals that live in the coral to have to find refugee in a new location. Or some animals use the coral as a source of nutrients. 3,500 species live and eat coral which is a majority of the fish population.
So if the coral is starting to die then the animals that need the coral to live are forced out of there home. This causes there predators to eat and reproduce more. Not only is it bad for ocean, but it is sad for divers to not be able to see the beautiful colors and species that live around the coral.
As much sunscreen company's use these chemicals, there are some that don't! A helpful tip when looking for sunscreen is to look for sunscreens that announce that they are safe for our reefs.
The sunscreen that you put on your body can cause our ocean system to go out of balance. Next time you are out shopping for sunscreen check out the active ingredients section and pick a coral safe sunscreen! By simply choosing sunscreens that don't contain harmful chemicals you can help stop the bleaching of our coral reefs.
Picture from: Bio ninja
Facts on species: Teach ocean science
Chemical list: Goddess Garden Sunscreen