Hawaii’s proposed sunscreen ban is expected to become law this week

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Come 2021, Hawaii beachgoers will have to furnish a doctor's prescription for sunscreen labels containing oxybenzone and octinoxate in order to purchase them in the state.

"This irresponsible action will make it more hard for families to protect themselves against the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, and it is contrary to the many concerns expressed by Hawaii's medical doctors, dermatologists, and public health experts", the association argued. Coral reefs are also a popular draw for tourists.

According to some estimates, a third of the world's coral reef has died in the past three years, others say half has gone in the past 30 years.

State Sen. Mike Gabbard, the Democrat who introduced the bill, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that it would be "a first-in-the-world law". "Governor, by signing this measure, you are presenting our community with a unique moment in time to protect our coral reefs".

SB 2471 states: "Oxybenzone and octinoxate cause mortality in developing coral; increase coral bleaching that indicates extreme stress, even at temperatures below 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit; and cause genetic damage to coral and other marine organisms".

Roughly one-quarter of coral reefs worldwide are already considered damaged beyond fix, while another two-thirds live under serious threat, according to WWF Global. Consumers will instead have to buy reef-safe sunscreens lacking the chemicals. "As always, we will continue to ensure we comply with all relevant regulations concerning oxybenzone and octinoxate".

Ige signed the bill Tuesday but the law doesn't take effect on the islands until January 1, 2021.

The coral reefs surrounding Hawaii are hugely important to the U.S. state, aside from being home to marine life and drawing tourists for snorkelling and diving, a recent study found that coral reef provides protection for coastal towns from storm floods.

This law does not include products marketed or intended for use as a cosmetic.

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