Science Brief: Thailand Bans Coral-Damaging Sunscreens

Coral Reef in Vietnam. Photo by @quinguyen on Unsplash

By Zahra Latheef, age 11

On August 4, Thailand ordered all non-ocean-friendly sunscreens be banned from marine parks. Regular sunscreens contain ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor or butylparaben, which are harmful to the ocean’s slow-growing corals. 

Certain sunscreens damage coral reefs by inhibiting growth and reproduction, killing off coral larvae, and causing reef bleaching. Anyone who disobeys the new law will be fined up to 100,000 baht ($3021.15).

Every year, 14,000 tons of sunscreen is released into the ocean, and around 10% of the world’s corals are affected. That’s a lot of sunscreen going into the ocean. 

To prevent this, we can use environment-friendly sunscreens. There are at least 15 reef-friendly sunscreens and even more ocean-friendly sunscreens.

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