HONOLULU – A Hawaii State House measure banning the sale of sunscreens containing the chemical oxybenzone advanced at the state legislature on Tuesday.
The House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection passed House Bill 600, which was introduced by Kona’s State Representative Nicole Lowen. The proposed law was crafted in response to recent studies that have concluded that oxybenzone disrupts coral development and growth.
“Our reefs are an essential economic driver of our tourism industry, they sustain our fish populations for fishermen, and are home to many species found nowhere else in the world,” said Rep. Lowen in a media release. “Safe, effective, and affordable alternatives to oxybenzone are available already. How can we, in good conscience, continue to needlessly allow the use of this chemical that we know causes damage to coral?”
The committee also advanced a bill (HB818) that would allow continued sale of oxybenzone products, but impose new labeling requirements.
A third oxybenzone prohibition bill (HB819) was deferred.
HB 600 will next go to the House Floor and then to the Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection.