Will your suntan lotion be banned?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

For longer than I have had hot dinners, we have been urged to use suntan lotions to protect us from first sunburn and sunstroke and then, as medicinal knowledge improved, skin cancer.

Check the sunscreens before you buy to see what they contain

There were suntan lotions and then came factor lotions with those being particularly susceptible, being urged to look at factor 45 or factor 50 creams.

Now there is another consideration to be taken into account. Unbeknown to most of us, I suspect, certain suntan lotions contain substances which can threaten marine environments. Just as we were unaware of the amount of plastics in certain products like shampoo gels and the impact they were having, so scientists are examining the use of oxybenzone and octinoxate in sun screen products.

Next year, the US state of Hawaii and the Key West area of Florida are banning the import, distribution and sale of products containing these ingredients. So has Bonaire in the Caribbean and Palau in the Pacific Ocean. Parts of coastal Mexico encourage you only to use safer sun screens.

In the Caribbean, the US Virgin Islands will be the first to ban sun screens that not only contain the two substances that I have mentioned but also octocrylene as well. All three have been examined by the US Food and Drug Administration and, deemed safe

But some claim that oxybenzone and octinoxate are damaging to coral reefs. Recent studies suggest that octocrylene may also have an effect on coral.

Since legislation banning these products has happened other US states and some Caribbean islands are considering extending the ban to their areas as well. As yet Australia, which has the Great Barrier Reef in its waters, has done nothing although the cosmetics company, L’Oreal is undertaking research in conjunction with the Tara Ocean Foundation to assess any impact.

Ingredients in any products tend to be listed in small print on the packaging making it difficult for anyone but the young and eagle-eyed to spot them.

Just as many of us look at food stuffs to check if any of the ingredients contain something to which we are allergic, it’s time to look at the products in sun screen products other than which factor number it is.

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