Hawaii is leading the way in banning sunscreen that is not "reef-safe," but is that really enough?
Let me explain. The average US woman every day uses personal care products containing 168 different chemicals, and even with a significant decrease in product use for men, they still use around 85 chemicals per day. (source) Every year, locals and travelers make billions of trips to the ocean. Beach destinations are one of the most popular vacations. (source) Eighty percent of all tourism takes place in coastal areas, and the most popular destinations in those areas are beaches and coral reefs. Additionally, 60% of the world's population lives within 38 miles of the beach. (source) We have an impact on the ocean.
One by one, as we splash into the heavenly, blue oasis, what we have on our body washes off in the ocean. In an effort to bring awareness to the health of the reef and using reef-safe sunscreen, are we forgetting about other chemicals?
Some products labeled "reef-safe" (learn more here) and "aloe-based" can still contain toxic ingredients due to the market's techniques of "greenwashing." Greenwashing has the ability to make product labels look cleaner than the ingredients actually are (what is greenwashing; are you a victim?). You may not be ready to make the leap to a 100% nontoxic lifestyle, but please consider using nontoxic products when you are visiting our beautiful beaches. Buying nontoxic Reef-safe sunscreen, bug spray, leave-in conditioner/detangler, deodorant, body lotion/oil is a good goal for vacation. Here in Vieques, Puerto Rico, a visit to our bioluminescent bay actually forbids the use of chemical-based bugspray. Crystal Clear does something similar in regards to sunscreen - only truly reef-safe (more info here) sunscreen is allowed for use during snorkeling tours. After all, if you enjoy the beauty of the ocean, wouldn't you want to care for it so that you have many pristine ocean vacations to come?
So what is the best way to keep the environment clean that you are visiting?
-Buy 100% nontoxic products for your trip (check out a great brand here)
-Use a rashguard instead of using more sunscreen
-Be conscious of the products that you use before taking a dip in the ocean
-Reef-safe sunscreen and natural bug spray are a must
-Learn about your products using an app called "Think Dirty" or websites like EWG Skin Deep
Photo above taken from this site.