KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii >> Officials have found high levels of a chemical that’s found in sunscreen and believed to harm coral reefs in bay waters off Hawaii’s Big Island.
West Hawaii Today reported today that the Kahaluu Bay Education Center last year commissioned testing for oxybenzone at five sites in the bay on the island’s west side.
The recently returned results found the chemical’s concentration to be 262 times greater than levels considered high-risk by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Haereticus Environmental Laboratory executive director Craig Downs says one of the samples had the highest concentration “ever measured in the world.”
The state Legislature last year enacted a law banning sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, aiming to protect the state’s reefs. The ban takes effect in 2021.