Hawaii bans certain sunscreens to protect coral reefs

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed into law a ban on sunscreens that contain two chemicals believed to be harmful to coral reefs.

Sunscreen containing the two chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate will only be available to those with a prescription. Others will have to buy sunscreens without these chemicals or bring their own sunscreen with them to Hawaii.

"This is just one small step toward protecting and restoring the resiliency of Hawaii's reefs," Ige said at a signing ceremony for the bill, which takes effect in 2021.

Hawaii is the first state to enact this ban, which aims to protect a vital part of the ocean's ecosystem. Coral reefs are also a popular draw for tourists.

However, critics say there is not enough evidence to support the claim that the chemicals are bad for coral reefs.

The group Retail Merchants of Hawaii has said it's concerned the ban will discourage people from buying sunscreen at brick and mortar stores.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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