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A question from a nonprofessional

Discussion in 'Business of Diving Institute' started by jomcclain, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. Seaweed Doc

    Seaweed Doc Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle, Washington State, USA
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    I take college students to Belize every other year, and we now "encourage" the alternative sunscreens. In doing some (limited) reading on it, it's worth noting that oxybenzone likely wouldn't be approved for a cosmetic product today due to federal legislation in the 1970's. It was "grandfathered" in back in the day, so skipped proving safety. As others have noted, forget the coral, this stuff might kill you! Having said that, we tell students if the choice is no sunscreen or oxybenzone, skin cancer avoidance wins.

    Purely anecdotally, my wife had a nasty skin reaction to oxybenzone in sunscreen (per a docs diagnosis, not the perfumes or additives since we were using an "additive free" version). She had hives everywhere she applied the sunscreen. She went with coral safe the rest of the trip, even when we weren't going in the water, and never had a problem.

    The drag with the alternatives is that they give you that ghostly appearance. I'm too old too care about looking good and am happy enough with a white stripe down my nose.
     
  2. northernone

    northernone Great White Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Currently: Cozumel, from Canada
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    Telling someone else how to run their business is always a delicate conversation.

    If something concerns me significantly enough I might quietly mention the information available briefly, without suggesting my opinion. It's subtle, but respect the person trying to make a living to do what they want with the new data.

    Expecting other customers to change their behavior for slightly reducing environmental impact is challenging. There are millions of things people do which directly damage our environment. Gas power dive boats for example. But customers are unwilling to row or swim often.

    Regards,
    Cameron
     
  3. RyanT

    RyanT Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Maryland
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    This is ridiculous. Tom, can you point me at any peer-reviewed studies showing that elevated ammonia levels from human urine generate toxic effects on corals? Any difference in coral cover relative to diver traffic is much more likely to be from direct diver contact with the reef than folks peeing in their wetsuits.
     
    mselenaous likes this.
  4. tbone1004

    tbone1004 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
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    hence why I said that I would argue, but it is most likely the physical damage.
    That said, there have been a bunch recently done in lakes, but haven't seen any on coral, just a gut feeling in some of the real high traffic areas.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
  5. mselenaous

    mselenaous Island girl ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Key Largo, FL... Dive Capital of the World
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    The state of Hawaii has a pending bill banning oxybenzone sunscreens.

    Measure Status

    You can always educate & point out better alternatives, even mention that some areas are banning their use in their jurisdictions.
     
    hildende and Autumnb like this.
  6. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Largo, FL USA
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    So why all the hubub about using one chemical over another in sunscreen? Marketing hype from competing sunscreen companies?
     
  7. tbone1004

    tbone1004 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
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    one of the studies was a push to make oxybenzone look quite bad as a whole. Oxybenzone doesn't dissolve in water, so they mixed it with a pretty nasty chemical to get it to dissolve, then put it in at basically 100% concentration and killed a bunch of coral. Obviously that is going to make it look quite bad but the study is skewed. Doesn't mean that the products without oxybenzone aren't going to hurt the corals, it just means that oxybenzone does hurt the coral, and they don't have it. What the study that Mote did for Reef Safe did was actually attempt to replicate how sunscreen would be used in a marine environment at a heavy traffic reef. By replicating that and using the specific product, you can argue that while that study wasn't peer reviewed, it was conducted at a third party, certified lab, that specializes in marine health so they know what they're doing. I hope they post the entire study though as it would clear up quite a bit. Hopefully @Reef Safe - Richard can make that happen.

    In either instance though, the point is not that oxybenzone can be bad for the environment. The point is that just because a sunscreen doesn't have oxybenzone in it, doesn't mean it doesn't also have other ingredients that can hurt the coral regardless of the claims that some manufacturers make. There are a few that have done the third party testing, but most haven't. Find those products from whatever brand it is, and use those.
     
    Autumnb likes this.
  8. Wookie

    Wookie Secret Field Agent ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    +1
     
  9. RyanT

    RyanT Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Maryland
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    1,368
    113
  10. RyanT

    RyanT Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Maryland
    1,744
    1,368
    113
    I meant to add this my link for the study above. So there are some other studies such as the one I referenced, but I'll also agree with tbone that a lack of oxybenzone doesn't necessarily make sunscreen "safe."
     

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