Are we loving our reefs to death? Florida biochemist says coral-killing
synthetics harm humans, too
ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- If you care about coral reefs, choose your sunscreen wisely, Florida biochemist Celia Ferreira, Ph.D. advises.
Scientists have found a link between dying coral reefs and the estimated 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen that wash off swimmers every year.
According to a study published in the January 2008 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, four common sunscreen ingredients activate viruses that kill an important symbiotic algae that feeds coral through photosynthesis. Without the algae, the coral turns white and dies.
Scientists at the Polytechnic University of Marche in Italy estimates 10 percent of coral reefs worldwide are threatened by sunscreen-induced bleaching.
The good news? "We don't need to choose between protecting our skin and protecting coral reefs," says Celia Ferreira, Ph.D., formulator of Caribbean Solutions sunscreen products in Orlando, Fla. "In my experience, sun products without petroleum derivatives actually protect the skin better."
The four harmful chemicals include three sun blockers -- octinoxate, oxybenzone and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor -- and the preservative butylparaben.
According to the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database (skindeep.ewg.org), the reef-damaging ingredients are also linked to cancer, allergic reactions, endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity and reproductive harm in humans.
What can an eco-conscious sun lover do? Ferreira, who grew up in Brazil
and now lives in Florida, offers these tips:
* Choose a sunscreen with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as active
ingredients. These minerals scatter and reflect UVA and UVB rays, while
petrochemicals absorb them.
* Read the label carefully -- many "natural" brands contain the
ingredients scientists sa
|SOURCE Caribbean Solutions|
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