Coralswap's Official Blog

Can sunscreen damage coral reefs?

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by , 15-01-2012 at 20:37 (6887 Views)
"But spare a thought for the coral reefs. In the bad old days before I wisened up, I always slapped on plenty of sunscreen to sit out on the deck during surface intervals on a dive boat or to go for a snorkel. Like so many people, I assumed that because the ocean is so big, a few drops of sunscreen on my skin would have absolutely no effect on the reefs.

I was WRONG. It is estimated that 5,000 tons of sunscreen are washed off from people and into the oceans each year. Common Chemicals contained in many sunscreens contribute to coral bleaching – even at fairly low concentrations. Coral bleaching can devastate ocean ecosystems, negatively affect biodiversity and have serious consequences on economies and communities. Scientific estimates put 10 per cent of the world’s coral reefs at risk with the current rate of sunscreen wash-off into the oceans."

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