Published on Sunday, November 4, 2018

Palau banning 'reef-toxic' sunscreens

The Pacific island nation of Palau is outlawing some sunscreens in a bid to protect its fragile coral reef systems.

It becomes the first in the world to implement a nationwide ban.

Palau joins the state of Hawaii in signing legislation banning certain 'reef-toxic' sunscreens.

These include those containing any of 10 chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate which are found in most sunscreens.

"This short but important bill has the potential to make a lasting impact on the environment here," Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., said.

"As more and more people come to visit our pristine paradise with their own eyes, we cannot relinquish our responsibility for these islands."

Palau will immediately ban new imports of these sunscreens although current stocks may be sold up until 2020 when the bill takes effect.

Retailers violating the ban will face fines of US$1,000.

The bill urges retailers to source 'more biologically friendly' sunscreens.

Hawaii passed a law banning similar sunscreen products from 2021.

That was criticised by members of the health profession who say it will inevitably lead to growth in skin cancer rates.

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