Researchers say sunscreen is killing coral reefs
ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Lathering up with sunscreen may prevent sunburn and protect against cancer, but it is also killing coral reefs,
according to a team of international scientists.
The researchers found that oxybenzone, a common UV-filtering compound, is in high concentrations in the waters around the more popular coral reefs in Hawaii, and the Caribbean. The chemical not only kills the coral, it causes DNA damage in adults and deforms the DNA in coral in the larval stage, making it unlikely they can develop properly. The highest concentrations of oxybenzone were found in reefs most popular with tourists.
"Coral reefs are the world's most productive marine ecosystems and support commercial and recreational fisheries and tourism," said University of Central Florida professor and diving enthusiast John Fauth. "In addition, reefs protect coastlines from storm surge. Worldwide, the total value of coral reefs is tremendous. And they are in danger."
The team's findings are published in Oct. 20 edition of the journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.