Hawaii Governor David Ige has signed a bill to ban sun cream containing oxybenzone and octinoxate to protect coral reefs.

The bill prohibits the sale, offer of sale and distribution of the sunscreens and is effective from 1 January 2021.

The SB 2571, Act 104, aims to preserve marine ecosystems such as coral reefs from these chemicals, which are toxic to marine life.

Ige said: “Studies have documented the negative impact of these chemicals on corals and other marine life. Our natural environment is fragile, and our own interaction with the earth can have lasting impacts. This new law is just one step toward protecting the health and resiliency of Hawaii’s coral reefs.”

“Our natural environment is fragile, and our own interaction with the earth can have lasting impacts.”

Hawaii senator Roz Baker added: “Healthy reefs are a fundamental part of a larger ecosystem, which is important to the health of our planet.

“This bill has enormous significance and I’m so happy on behalf of the Senate to be here participating in the signing of this very important bill.

“Governor, by signing this measure, you are presenting our community with a unique moment in time to protect our coral reefs.”

The new law does not include products marketed or intended for use as a cosmetic or sun creams prescribed by licensed healthcare providers.