BEACON TRANSCRIPT – The underwater world is at an ever increasing danger, and studies have found that sunscreen is good for us yet bad for the coral reef due to a particularly popular substances that’s found in their content. Unfortunately, that is why we might be facing a conundrum.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 1% of our coral reefs are dying out each year. It means that every single year, we see a major impact on their population. This further translates with issues for marine life, fishing industries, and tourism. All will receive subsequent hits due to problems of dying corals.
As stated by Mark Eakin, from NOAA, around the United States waters and international waters alike, there is a drastic decrease in their population. And quite a substantial amount of the damage is man-made. Beyond the problems affecting the coral reefs caused by El Niño this year, which lead to massive bleaching, humans have their own share of the blame.
According to NOAA scientists, oxybenzone, a popular ingredient found in sunscreen is harmful to the coral reef. It’s obviously causing a huge exposure due to the fact that it’s more popular among beachgoers. They slather the protective sunscreen on, then wander into the ocean, which further impacts on the health of corals.
Oxybenzone, otherwise known as BP-3 or Benzophenone-3, can be found in around 3,500 different brands of sunscreen, including big names such as L’Oreal, Nuetrogena, and Banana Boat. It’s has a huge impact that affects both the lives of corals, and their chances at recovery.
The chemical reportedly causes DNA damage, and starts deforming the coral early, in its larval stage. This makes it difficult for them to develop properly or recover in the future.
So far, Hawaii and the Caribbean has seen to the greatest losses, with the latter losing around 80% of its total coral reefs. This was due to the fact that around 14,000 tons of the damaging chemical deposits itself on the usually colorful marine invertebrate. Reducing the amount, if only by a little, would help.
However, this is where the conundrum kicks in. Humans will not stop using sunscreen because it’s heavily important in shielding us from the sun’s harmful rays. It protects our skin from skin damage, and burns, including serious conditions such as melanoma. It’s a difficult situation to fix, especially since the use of the protective agent is encouraged more and more.
People are now applying it for everyday use, but the sewage system also leads the hazardous chemicals back into the ocean. Unfortunately, it seems that only an improved filtering system might be a viable option. Otherwise, we lose either way.
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