Reefs are beautiful ecosystems that thousands of species of animals rely on for food and shelter! They are also helpful to humans in the face of severe weather as they can act as buffers against waves, storms, floods, and other similar natural disasters. Without them, many coastal communities would be at risk of property damage and even death. Sadly, human actions have been causing the deterioration of reefs and the species that rely on them for survival. This comes in the form of climate, change pollution, and to the surprise of some, sunscreen.
Sunscreen is super important for protecting your skin; however, there are some not-so-great ingredients that many brands put in their formulas. One of these chemicals is called oxybenzone, which causes coral bleaching. It only takes a tiny amount of sunscreen to be toxic to reefs, but the U.S. National Park Service estimates that 4,000 and 6,000 tons of sunscreen enter coral reef areas around the world each year. Titanium dioxide, another chemical in sunscreen has also been linked to greatly increasing the levels of hydrogen peroxide and thereby killing off phytoplankton, a vital food source at the base of the marine food chain. Furthermore, sunscreen chemicals can harm humans too by causing hormone disruption, cell damage, and allergies.
When the reefs die, so do so much of the marine life that uses reefs for food and shelter. The solution is simple: use reef-safe mineral sunscreen options and ban toxic sunscreens. Bans on sunscreens containing toxic chemicals have already been established in popular tropical tourist destinations like Hawaii, Key West, and Mexico. Sign this petition and ask that Costa Rica pass its own toxic sunscreen ban, now!
To continue speaking up, sign these other petitions as well:
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