Compounds in Sunscreens Can be Toxic to Coral

Most people are already aware of the situation we have with the ocean environment. All types of pollution have caused the magnificent coral reefs around the world to mostly die off. There are only a few reefs left that are vital, but they are starting to get sick. When you consider going to a beach near a coral reef, you should know that there is reef safe sunscreen available online and in some stores. You have to wear sunscreen since we also managed to mess up the sky in addition to the oceans and your chances of getting cancer from the sun are high.

The good news is there is a sunscreen that contains only ingredients that are safe for coral reefs. This way you get to contribute back to the environment substantially, especially if you spread the word to your friend. Make this a booming business and keep your skin safe. It will be better for the entire world.

Two of the most common ingredients in “safe” sunscreens are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The way these two compounds work is a bit like a mirror. They reflect sunlight off of the body to keep the skin safe. These are considered to be non-toxic ingredients for humans, so many people use these types of sunscreen because others have a degree of toxicity. At the same time, sunscreens with only these ingredients are touted as being safe for coral. This is not true.

As it turns out, both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide get into the ocean waters and are truly not directly toxic to coral. However, once exposed to the ultraviolet light from the sun, the two along with the salt water result in hydrogen peroxide and that is definitely something that will bleach coral and kill it. Be sure to use coral friendly sunscreen and have a good time.