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Sun screen lotion threatens coral: study

Posted By: Marty

Sun screen lotion threatens coral: study - 05/23/08 08:30 PM

Fri May 23, 11:40 AM ET
Sun screen lotions used by beach-going tourists worldwide are a major cause of coral bleaching, according to a new study commissioned by the European Commission.

In experiments, the cream-based ultra-violet (UV) filters -- used to protect skin from the harmful effects of sun exposure -- caused bleaching of coral reefs even in small quantities, the study found.

Coral reefs are among the most biologically productive and diverse of ecosystems, and directly sustain half a billion people. But some 60 percent of these reef systems are threatened by a deadly combination of climate change, industrial pollution and excess UV radiation.

The new study, published in US journal Environmental Health Perspectives, has now added sun screens to the list of damaging agents, and estimates that up to 10 per cent of the world's reefs are at risk of sunscreen-induced coral bleaching.

Chemical compounds in sunscreen and other personal skin care products have been detected near both sea and freshwater tourist areas. Previous research has shown that these chemicals can accumulate in aquatic animals, and biodegrade into toxic by-products.

Researchers led by Roberto Danovaro at the University of Pisa in Italy added controlled amounts of three brands of sunscreen to seawater surrounding coral reefs in Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand and Egypt.

Even small doses provoked large discharges of coral mucous -- a clear sign of environmental stress -- within 18 to 48 hours. Within 96 hours complete bleaching of corals had occurred.

Virus levels in seawater surrounding coral branches increased to 15 times the level found in control samples, suggesting that sunscreens might stimulate latent viral infections, the study found.

Pesticides, hydrocarbons and other contaminants have also been found to induce algae or coral to release viruses, hastening the bleaching process.

According to the World Trade Organisation, around 10 per cent of tourism takes place in tropical areas, with 78 million tourists visiting coral reefs each year.

An estimated 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes of sunscreen are released annually in reef areas, with 25 per cent of the sunscreen ingredients on skin released into water over the course of a 20 minute submersion.

Sunscreens are made of around 20 compounds acting as UV filters and preservatives. Seven were tested for the study, including parabens, cinnamates, benzophenones and camphor derivatives.

http://real-us.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080523/ts_afp/environmentpollutionspeciescoral
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: Sun screen lotion threatens coral: study - 05/23/08 08:39 PM

There are some sunscreens that are less threatening (more sea friendly.) I remember reading about it in SCUBA or SCUBA DIVING magazine lately.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Sun screen lotion threatens coral: study - 05/23/08 11:07 PM

i HIGHLY recommend Mexitan. all organic, uses green tea. works awesome i use it all the time. 100% biodegradable

http://mexitan.com/

[Linked Image]

Posted By: tacogirl

Re: Sun screen lotion threatens coral: study - 05/24/08 01:37 AM

Looks good Marty - wish someone would start selling products like that here. I miss health food shops.

Have you tried their bug spray as well?

Posted By: Marty

Re: Sun screen lotion threatens coral: study - 06/02/08 08:53 PM

yeah the bug spray works pretty well...
Posted By: snorkelgirl

Re: Sun screen lotion threatens coral: study - 11/03/09 04:17 PM

thanks Marty, I'm ordering some of this today.

I could find a Burt's Bees "all natural" locally but it didn't say if it was biodegradable. Do you know if it is?
Posted By: Marty

Re: Sun screen lotion threatens coral: study - 11/03/09 05:53 PM

not sure if burts bees is biodegradable. i KNOW mexitan is.

PLUS i am a true believer in the mexitan lotions and oils. its all i ever use and i give it away everywhere i go.

i never get super blistered, but i get a lot of sun. i put a lil of the #2 oil in the water for the last 5 minutes or so of each bath. my skin NEVER peels no matter what since i started doing that. its been YEARS since my skin even got a lil flaky.

the lotion / blocks i use 30 and 8 and mix together to get the middle numbers.
Posted By: snorkelgirl

Re: Sun screen lotion threatens coral: study - 11/03/09 06:37 PM

I ordered the 30 lotion, the after sun moisturizer and 2 lip balms! I think that oughta last one trip : )
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Sun screen lotion threatens coral: study - 11/03/09 09:49 PM

But why do so many people cover themselves with protective lotion directly before going into the sea? It immediately gets washed off and onto the coral.
Posted By: Hon

Re: Sun screen lotion threatens coral: study - 11/03/09 10:44 PM

Much better to wear sun protective clothing like this... [Linked Image]
from http://www.spfstore.com SPF 50+ and lasts all day.
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Sun screen lotion threatens coral: study - 11/04/09 04:54 AM

And a wide-brimmed hat.
Posted By: Barbara K

Re: Sun screen lotion threatens coral: study - 11/04/09 04:16 PM

That Mexitan product looks good. The websites says they sell it by the gallon & bulk, wholesale, will make custom lables, including biodegradable lables for "eco resorts". Someone in Belize should jump on the business opportunity.
But don't use too much sunscreen in any case, low Vitamin D levels are associated with all kinds of chronic diseases.
I don't have to worry about too much sun where I live - Syracuse is where they send people who are allergic to sun! But we do have a lot of problems with Vit D deficiency.
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