Most waterwater treatment does not remove oxybenzone and other toxic chemical sunscreen ingredients during treatment (including pharmaceuticals). We hear people all the time – particularly in Hawaii – say, well, we’re not going in the ocean. You know the old Hawaiian saying, from the mountains to the sea… and that includes the sunscreens we use, getting showered off and/or entering the bloodstream and making their way to the oceans via wasterwater.
There are companies working on solutions, and we’ll post info soon. Perhaps we should start requesting states like Hawaii, that have avoided enacting toxic chemical sunscreen bans, to invest in these pricier wastewater treatment options. When the tech get there, we definitely should require this of cruise ships that enter our waters.
Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are daily discharged into the aquatic systems due to the general inefficiency of the conventional processes to remove emerging organic contaminants in wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). As a consequence, some PPCPs have been detected in aquatic environment at concentrations of about microgram per liter (Heberer 2002; Fent et al. 2006). Even in vestigial concentrations, these contaminants are of concern due to their potential ecological and environmental impacts (Pal et al. 2010).
One important aspect to decrease the mass of organic con- taminants discharged into surface waters is the optimization of WWTP processes. Constructed wetlands (CWs), based on natural wetland systems, are an attractive technology for the removal of PPCPs from wastewaters due to their easy opera- tion and maintenance, low-energy requirements, high rates of water recycling, and potential for providing significant wild- life habitat (Matamoros and Bayona 2006; Vymazal 2010; Zhang et al. 2014).
Read the full study here: Comparative assessment of LECA and Spartina maritima to remove emerging organic contaminants from wastewater: