Free Materials Available to Help Educate Public About Sunscreen Choices
Starting on January 1, 2021, a new state law that prohibits the sale, offer of sale, and distribution of sunscreens that contain the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate in Hawai’I goes into effect. The purpose of this law is to preserve marine ecosystems, including coral reefs.
The nonprofit Maui Nui Marine Resource Council (MNMRC), with support from the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, is offering free materials to educate visitors and residents about this transition.
To provide information about the reasons for the new law and to encourage visitors and residents to curtail their use of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate that they already own, MNMRC offers wallet-sized sunscreen information cards. The cards provide a friendly, simple explanation about avoiding sunscreens with reef-harming oxybenzone and octinoxate. MNMRC is offering the cards free to Maui businesses and concierge for distribution to the public.
“The cards require very little space on a counter or desk yet provide all of the information needed to help a guest or customer avoid reef-harming oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals that have been proven to harm or kill corals,” says Anne Rillero, Communications, Community Outreach and Development Manager at Maui Nui Marine Resource Council.
For those with more space, Maui Nui Marine Resource Council is offering free 8 1/2” x 11” color posters, with the message “Get a Jump on Protecting Maui’s Coral Reefs: Make the Sunscreen Switch Today.”
Maui Nui Marine Resource Council has also produced a short video about sunscreen choices which can be viewed and shared at https://youtu.be/nz-XTbFYlBY
The organization provides a website page that offers details on safer-for-the-reef sunscreens at https://www.mauireefs.org/sunscreens/.
Maui Nui Marine Resource Council has also printed bumperstickers, with the message, “Show some love for Maui’s corals. Choose reef-safe sunscreen” that are offered free to the public.
To arrange for any of these free materials, please email [email protected]. Please include the name of your business, resort or vacation rental, along with your name and contact information, and the items requested.
Maui Nui Marine Resource Council has installed large scale window signage at Kahului Airport to educate arriving visitors about sunscreen choices that protect coral reefs. Earlier this year, MNMRC installed educational signage about coral reefs at 39 Maui beaches that includes information about sunscreens.
“Coral reefs in Hawaii and around the world are under stress due to warming ocean waters, sediment runoff, pollution and other human-related causes,” said Robin Newbold, co-founder and chair of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council. “While it’s important that we tackle those issues, switching to a more environmentally friendly sunscreen now is an easy way for individuals and families to help protect the reefs.”
Newbold noted that new sunscreen products made without oxybenzone and octinoxate are readily available and easy to use.
A Maui-based nonprofit organization founded in 2007, Maui Nui Marine Resource Council is working for healthy coral reefs, clean ocean water and abundant native fish for the islands of Maui County. Current projects include ocean water quality testing in South and West Maui, work to improve ocean water quality in Ma’alaea Bay, ongoing studies of corals in Olowalu and Ma’alaea, and outreach programs to educate visitors about protecting Maui’s coral reefs. Learn more at www.mauireefs.org.
Photo by Don Bloom