This bill S.B. No. 2985 was introduced January 24, 2018. If we were to request the chemical cosmetic industry write their own version of a sunscreen bill this would be it. The date this would go into effect would be 2023. Will there be corals left in Hawaii by then? The idea here is that companies need that much time to make new formulations and that the FDA needs to approve other potentially dangerous active UV ingredients before they can switch to oxybenzone-free sunscreens. To be clear, most of these brands already have oxybenzone-free formualtions. As it is, we do not support this bill, though bills can be altered during the legislative process. Links to updated versions of the bill will be included here as it moves through progresses.



SECTION1. The legislature finds that coral decline poses a significant threat worldwide. While scientists from around the world agree that the primary causes of coral decline are related to global warming, agricultural runoff, sewage, and overfishing, recent studies have shown that that oxybenzone, a common sunscreen ingredient, also has detrimental effects on coral reefs. The World Conservation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature met in September 9, 2016 in Honolulu. The Congress disclosed that 2015 research led by a University of Hawai’i professor implicated oxybenzone in coral larvae deformity, bleaching, and DNA damage that weakens coral systems’ adaptability to climate change. The threat is particularly acute in Hawaiian ocean waters where coral bleaching is occurring at a historic rate never before noted in recorded history. The legislature brought attention to this issue during the regular session of 2017, and the senate committed to enacting the seventeen United Nations sustainable development goals as a priority for the regular session of 2018.

The findings of the World Conservation Congress of the International Union f o r Conservation of Nature is in line with the senate’s focus on “Aloha Honua – Climate Change and Energy”.

Aloha Honua seeks to protect and preserve the natural resources of Hawai’i by exploring ways to improve agricultural practices and mitigate climate change impacts. Aloha Honua is a commitment to supporting the preservation of nature’s unique geographic features, including coral reefs, coastlines, and watersheds. Aloha Honua also encourages the use of innovative technologies to combat invasive species, address biosecurity risks, conserve the State’s water resources and coral reefs, address changing sea levels, and protect the State’s fragile marine ecosystem.

The legislature further finds that skin cancer poses a significant threat to the health of Americans and that 3,500,000 million skin cancers, including 75,000 new cases of invasive melanoma, are diagnosed in the United States annually. Sunscreens play a vital role in protecting Hawaii residents and visitors from dangerous ultraviolet rays and in preventing skin cancers. The State must balance its need to protect Hawaiian ocean waters and coral reefs with the need to protect the public’s health and safety. Therefore, any action taken to ban sunscreen ingredients approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration must be done in a manner that does not jeopardize Hawaii residents’ and visitors’ health, and still provides access to a wide range of safe and reliable sun protection products for all skin types.

The legislature further finds that there are reasonable alternatives to oxybenzone-based sunscreens such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide, that allow beach users to enjoy the outdoors without compromising sun protection. The legislature acknowledges, however, that the development of oxybenzone-free, higher SPF products has been substantially delayed in the United States due to delay by the Food and Drug Administration in approving new sunscreen ingredients. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved a new sunscreen ingredient for use within the United States since the 1990s.

The legislature finds that given a reasonable time frame for reformulation and Food and Drug Administration approval of 21 new ingredients, it is possible for sunscreen manufacturers to provide a full range of oxybenzone-free sunscreen products that will allow beach users to enjoy the outdoors without compromising sun protection and without contributing to the degradation of the coral reefs of Hawai’i.

As such, the purpose of this Act is to protect the coral reefs of Hawai’i by prohibiting the sale of sunscreens and personal care products containing oxybenzone or octinoxate in the State.

SECTION 2. Chapter 328, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

Ҥ328- Oxybenzone and octinoxate; sunscreen and personal care products restrictions. (a) Beginning January1, 2023, no person shall sell, offer to sell, or distribute for sale sunscreen or personal care products that contain oxybenzone or octinoxate in Hawaii, unless the sunscreen is a prescription drug as defined in section 328-112.

(b) For purposes of this section:
“Octinoxate” means the chemical (RS) -2-Ethylhexyl (2E) -3- (4-methoxyphenyl) prop-2-enoate under the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry chemical nomenclature registry, has a chemical abstract service registry number 5466-77-3,and whose synonyms include ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, octyl methoxycinnamate, Eusolex 2292, and Uvinul MC80, and is intended to be used as protection against ultraviolet light radiation with a spectrum wavelength from 370 nanometers to 220 nanometers in an epidermal sunscreen-protectionpersonal care product.

“Oxybenzone” means the chemical (2-Hydroxy-4 methoxyphenyl) -phenylmethanone under the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry chemical nomenclature registry, has a chemical abstract service registry number 131-57-7,and whose synonyms include benzophenone-3, Escalol 567, Eusolex 4360, KAHSCREENBZ-3,4-methoxy-2-hydroxybenzophenone,and Milestab 9, and is intended to be used as protection against ultraviolet light radiation with a spectrum wavelength from 370 nanometers 15 to 220 nanometers in an epidermal sunscreen-protection personal care product.

SECTION 3. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

SECTION 4. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

Report Title:
Sunscreen; Personal Care Products; Oxybenzone; Octinoxate; Coral Reefs

Prohibits the sale of sunscreen or personal care products that contain oxybenzone or octinoxate in Hawaii, beginning 1/1/2023


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Posted on

January 17, 2018

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