Hawaii lawmakers have passed a bill banning two chemicals commonly found in sunscreen on Tuesday. The bill is expected to be signed by Gov. David Ige and will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.
Oxybenzone and octinoxate, chemical ingredients found in most over-the-counter sunscreen, are said to have harmful effects on coral reefs and other marine organisms. According to the legislature, the chemicals “degrade corals’ resiliency and ability to adjust to climate change factors and inhibit recruitment of new corals.”
“Sunscreens play a critical role as part of a safe sun regimen in the fight against skin cancer,” said Alexandra Kowcz, chief scientist at the Personal Care Products Council. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with legislators in Hawaii and all interested stakeholders who came together to address the issue of sunscreens and the coral reef. Because science serves as the foundation for everything that we do, we remain concerned that policy decisions to restrict the use of sunscreen products with FDA approved sunscreen ingredients, oxybenzone and octinoxate, are based on a limited body of scientific research from which concrete conclusions cannot be drawn.”
While this is the first bill of its kind, there has been increasing efforts to regulate the beauty industry among lawmakers, industry executives and reality TV stars. On April 24, Kourtney Kardashian testified on Capitol Hill with the Environmental Working Group to pass the Personal Care Products Safety Act, which was introduced last year by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Susan Collins.
Also last year, Gregg Renfrew, chief executive officer of clean beauty brand, Beautycounter, launched the Counteract Coalition, an initiative that works to improve regulations in the beauty industry and update cosmetics safety laws. The initiative brought founders from 15 beauty brands, including Seventh Generation, SW Basics and Tenoverten, among others, to Washington D.C. to meet with Sen. Michael Bennet, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
“Beautycounter is thrilled that Hawaii took steps to protect its fragile ecosystem and the health of Hawaiian families,” Renfrew said. “Beautycounter is proud to offer a sunscreen formulated without harmful ingredients and encourages others to do so. We applaud Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and the Hawaiian legislature for their leadership.”