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Oxybenzone and Coral Bleaching: Sunscreen in the Environment

Linda Crampton is a writer and teacher with an honors degree in biology. She loves to study nature and write about living things.

A coral reef at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge

A coral reef at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge

Coral Reefs and Oxybenzone

Coral reefs are extremely valuable ecosystems. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that a million or more species may live in and around coral reefs, including about 4000 species of fish and 800 species of hard corals. Hard or stony corals are the organisms that make the reef. Researchers have found evidence that oxybenzone, a common ingredient in sunscreens, may damage coral reefs even when it's present in a low concentration. The chemical enters the ocean when we swim with sunscreen on our skin. It also enters the ocean when wastewater drains from our homes after we have washed ourselves while wearing the sunscreen.

Biologically, humans are animals. In fact, about 98.4% of our DNA (our genetic material) is identical to that in chimpanzees. Researchers are finding more and more similarities between chimpanzee and human behaviour. Nevertheless, the small percentage of DNA that is unique to humans has given us the most advanced brain on the planet and some comparatively impressive abilities. In my opinion, it has also given us the responsibility to preserve the Earth not only for ourselves but also for other life forms. These life forms include corals and the creatures that depend on them. We are failing woefully in our task.

A puffer fish at the entrance to a cave on a coral reef

A puffer fish at the entrance to a cave on a coral reef

Importance of Coral Reefs

Coral reefs have many benefits for both the ocean environment and humans. Some of the key ones are described below.

  • Coral reefs provide a habitat or a feeding area for a diverse collection of sea creatures and are an important part of the ocean ecosystem.
  • Reefs act as a buffer that protects shorelines from erosion. They also reduce the chance of wave damage to shoreline habitats, businesses, and property and decrease the loss of human life from wave action.
  • Coral reefs are often important to the local economy. Tourists, divers, photographers, people who want to fish for food, and those who want to collect natural sponges are all attracted to the reefs. (Any harvesting of coral creatures should be sustainable, which is another topic of concern.)
  • An important reason for maintaining biodiversity on Earth is that living things provide us with new medicines. Researchers are finding chemicals in coral that may be useful in treating human diseases.

Coral reefs are some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth.

— NOAA

Coral polyps extended on Molasses Reef in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Coral polyps extended on Molasses Reef in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

The body of a coral is known as a polyp.

The body of a coral is known as a polyp.

What Are Corals?

Corals are small animals whose body consists of a soft polyp. The polyp is tubular and has a mouth surrounded by tentacles at its upper end and a cavity in the middle that acts as a stomach. Each polyp secretes a calcium carbonate covering to protect itself. This covering is often referred to as a skeleton. The coral can extend part of its body out of the skeleton and retract into it as necessary.

The skeletons of the different polyps in a colonial coral stick together. When old or injured polyps die, new ones grow on top of the dead ones' skeletons. This process slowly builds a coral reef.

A layer of soft tissue called the cenosarc (or coenosarc) connects one polyp to another over the surface of the reef. This enables the members of the colony to communicate with each other.

Stylophora pistillata is a common type of zooxanthellae. It lives in the outer layer of some coral polyps.

Stylophora pistillata is a common type of zooxanthellae. It lives in the outer layer of some coral polyps.

Importance of Zooxanthellae in Reef Corals

The corals that make up a coral reef normally have tiny, one-celled creatures in their tissues. These creatures are referred to as zooxanthellae and are a type of dinoflagellate. Dinoflagellates are often classified as algae.

The zooxanthellae are found near the surface of a polyp. They absorb light and carry out photosynthesis. In this process, a carbohydrate food source is made from simple molecules with the aid of light energy.

Zooxanthellae and corals have a mutualistic relationship. The zooxanthellae receive protection as well as the carbon dioxide and water needed for photosynthesis. The corals absorb some of the food and oxygen made by the zooxanthellae. Coral tentacles do have stinging cells that can trap small animals for food, but 80% to 90% of a reef coral's food comes from its zooxanthellae.

A Time Lapse Video of the Great Barrier Reef

Coral Bleaching

In addition to providing the coral's main food source, zooxanthellae give a coral its colour. When corals are stressed in some way, they release their zooxanthellae into the surrounding seawater and become white in colour. This process is known as coral bleaching.

The main cause of coral bleaching seems to be a rise in water temperature due to an increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Bleaching in coral reefs near shorelines can be caused by pollution runoff from the land. Our personal care products may contribute to this pollution. Exposure to sunlight in shallow water and to air during very low tides can also contribute to bleaching. There may be other triggers for zooxanthellae release that are presently unknown. The process of coral bleaching isn't completely understood.

Corals can sometimes recover from a temporary bleaching event. Some polyps may be able to obtain enough food on their own and some may be able to obtain new zooxanthellae. Survival is a struggle after bleaching, however. The longer bleaching lasts, the less likely a coral is to recover. We have already lost large areas of coral reef due to the bleaching process.

Locally produced threats to coral, such as pollution from the land and unsustainable fishing practices, stress the health of corals and decrease the likelihood that corals can either resist bleaching or recover from it.

— Jennifer Koss, NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program

A Theory to Explain Zooxanthellae Release

The Third Global Coral Bleaching Event

According to NOAA, the third global coral bleaching event began in 2014. What is so worrying about this event is that it lasted until 2017. In June 2017, NOAA announced that the global bleaching had "likely" ended, although a further six months of observations would be needed to be certain. The bleaching was still bad in some areas but had improved in others, so although it still existed it could no longer be considered a global occurrence. The cause of the three-year event is believed to have been warmer water due to climate change and the damaging effects of a severe El Niño in 2015-2016.

The major cause of global warming is believed to be an increased level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is one of the greenhouse gases. It traps heat above the Earth's surface. Some of the carbon dioxide in the air enters the ocean, causing it to become more acidic. The average temperature of the oceans and atmosphere and the acidity of the oceans are all increasing. The powerful video below shows the possible and final result of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide on the world's coral reefs. I don't consider it to be an exaggeration.

While carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a very important topic to consider with respect to coral health, it's also important to consider other factors that weaken coral. Research suggests that oxybenzone is one of these factors.

Coral Reefs and Climate Change: A Possible Outcome

What Is Oxybenzone?

Oxybenzone is also known as benzophenone-3. It's a white solid that has the interesting ability to absorb ultraviolet light. Oxybenzone is a broad-spectrum sunscreen that absorbs both UVA and UVB light rays. It's produced synthetically by a chemical reaction.

Oxybenzone is added to many commercial sunscreens as well as some cosmetics and hairsprays because of its ability to stop UV damage to the skin and hair. It's also added to some food packaging to prevent the breakdown of the package when it's exposed to light.

There is a lot of controversy about the safety of oxybenzone for humans. It causes contact dermatitis in some people. It can be absorbed through the skin and has been found in the urine of most people who have been tested. There have been claims that it's an endocrine (hormone) disruptor. Not everyone agrees with this last idea, though. Some researchers say there is no reliable evidence that oxybenzone is harmful to humans, apart from its ability to irritate the skin of sensitive people.

Effects of Oxybenzone on Coral Reefs

In 2015, an international team of researchers described the effects of oxybenzone on a coral named Stylophora pistillata. The research team looked at the effect of oxybenzone on coral larvae and adults. They made the following discoveries, which were published in the Environmental Contamination and Toxicology journal.

  • Under lab conditions, oxybenzone transformed the coral larvae, or planulae, from a motile state to a deformed and sessile state.
  • The chemical caused the coral to make an enlarged skeleton and to become encased in it. The researchers stated that oxybenzone is "a skeletal endocrine disruptor" in coral.
  • Oxybenzone also damaged the coral DNA.
  • As the concentration of oxybenzone increased, the degree of coral bleaching increased.
  • Although oxybenzone was harmful under all light conditions, it exerted stronger effects in the light than in the dark.
  • The oxybenzone concentration around coral reefs in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands was found to be in similar or even larger than that used in the experiments.

Effects of Benzophenone-2 on Coral

We need to be careful when assessing results produced by only one researcher or only one research team. Accidental errors in procedure are always possible. Scientists who are not involved in an experiment often note new discoveries with interest and then look for confirmation in a second experiment. There is evidence that doesn't confirm the results of the discoveries about oxybenzone but does suggest that they are accurate, however.

In 2013, NOAA scientists explored the ways in which a chemical called benzophenone-2 affects corals. Benzophenone-2 is a relative of benzophenone-3 (or oxybenzone). Like benzophenone-3, it blocks ultraviolet light. It's not approved for use as a sunscreen in the United States, however. Benzophenone-2 is used in soaps, fragrances, and cosmetics instead of sunscreen. This means that it can reach the ocean in wastewater from homes after we wash ourselves.

Sometimes a small change is chemical structure can produce a big change in a chemical's properties. Still, it's interesting to note that the NOAA scientists found that like benzophenone-3, benzophenone-2 causes coral bleaching and damages coral DNA.

joakant, via pixabay.com, CC0 public domain license

joakant, via pixabay.com, CC0 public domain license

Viral Activation and Zooxanthellae Release

An experiment reported in 2008 showed that four chemicals commonly found in sunscreen could damage coral. One of the four chemicals was simply identified as "benzophenone". The corals were surrounded by a plastic bag so that the sunscreen ingredient being tested didn't contaminate the local seawater. While this act was commendable, it prevented the normal dilution of chemicals created by water movement around reefs and may have affected the results.

The researchers said that the sunscreen ingredients activated dormant viruses within the zooxanthellae in the coral, destroying them. This may be one of the causes of coral bleaching. As far as I know, however, the claim hasn't been confirmed.

Feather star on the coral reef, Dahab

Feather star on the coral reef, Dahab

Sun Safety

There is no doubt that we need to protect our skin from the sun in order to reduce the chance of developing skin cancer. Although protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and staying indoors around the middle of the day are useful, sunscreen may be needed.

Dermatologists and health agencies say that we should be wearing sunscreen all year round to protect us from both premature skin aging and skin cancer. It's therefore very important that we choose a safe product to apply to our skin for both our sake and the environment's.

People with pigment loss due to vitiligo must keep the skin areas without pigment away from the sun by clothing or sunscreen. Melanin is a pigment in skin of any colour that absorbs radiation from the skin and gives us some protection from the sun's radiation. Melanin is never a suitable substitute for sunscreen or sun protection, though. In vitiligo, areas of skin lose their ability to make melanin.

An orange-lined triggerfish (in the foreground) swimming over a coral reef

An orange-lined triggerfish (in the foreground) swimming over a coral reef

Sunscreen and Coral Reef Safety

So far, there is no evidence that mineral sunscreens harm coral, at least in their normal form. Mineral sunscreens contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which exist naturally in the Earth. They are often considered to be the healthiest sunscreen for humans as well as coral reefs.

Unfortunately, mineral sunscreens tend to give a white, pasty appearance to the skin. Reducing the minerals to tiny nanoparticle size eliminates or greatly reduces this whiteness. There are concerns about whether or not these nanoparticles can penetrate damaged skin and about whether or not they are harmful if they do so. There are also concerns about whether they can be ingested by coral and harm them.

Consumer Beware

The ultimate decision about whether to buy a chemical or a mineral sunscreen and about which brand to buy is up to the individual. I urge people to consider coral reef safety when choosing a sunscreen. This is especially true when sunscreen is worn regularly and reapplied frequently, as health agencies tell us to do. It's very important that we protect ourselves from the sun in some way. A person needs to decide on the best system for doing this in their life.

Consumer research is very worthwhile in order to find a sunscreen that fulfills three very important goals. These goals are the prevention of skin damage from UV light, the avoidance of damage to other parts of the body, and the prevention of damage to coral reefs and the rest of the environment.

While climate change seems to be a major cause of coral destruction, other factors may be making the situation worse. Even if we aren't actively working to save ocean life, we can help coral reefs and the environment by ensuring that our cosmetics—including our sunscreens—don't contribute to ocean pollution.

References

© 2015 Linda Crampton

Comments

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 14, 2020:

Hi, Manuela. Yes, it is sad that the safer and healthier brands of sunscreen are often more expensive. I hope that situation changes soon.

Manuela from Portugal on July 14, 2020:

Very interesting topic, last year I completely changed my sunscreen, I bought mineral ones for face and a coral friendly brand (Caudalie) sunscreen. it is sad that good sunscreen is also the more expensive one.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 18, 2019:

Hi, Denise. Thank you very much for the visit and for watching the videos. I appreciate your comment.

Blessings to you as well.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on July 18, 2019:

The videos are fascinating. I really feel like I've been on an educational trip. I've known about the coral reefs problems for a while. I personally don't use sunscreen but then I don't live near a beach either so I'm really not helping much. Maybe you can write another on what each person can do individually to be a part of the solution and not the problem. Thanks for sharing.

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 27, 2018:

I appreciate your visit and your comment, DW Davis.

DW Davis from Eastern NC on December 27, 2018:

I have been concerned for many years with the decline of coral reefs and found your article to be informative and cautionary. I will certainly seek alternatives to the usual sunscreens I've been using.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 12, 2017:

Thanks for the comment, Dale. It's a topic close to my heart, too. The condition of the Great Barrier Reef is very worrying.

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on December 12, 2017:

Topic close to my heart as I live on a boat and spend a large portion of my time kayaking and snorkeling. Plus, being from Australia, we kinda talk a lot about the beach, the ocean and of course, the Great Barrier Reef.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 18, 2016:

I appreciate all the shares, Audrey! Thanks for the second visit.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on April 18, 2016:

I hope so too Alicia! This is one reason I'm sharing this hub with friends and family. Pinning and tweeting too. :)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 18, 2016:

Thank you very much for the comment and for passing the information on, Audrey. The information is alarming, but perhaps if we take action now we can avoid a catastrophe. I certainly hope so!

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on April 18, 2016:

Well I did not know that coral was an animal! In fact I've learned so much in reading this fascinating (and alarming) hub of yours. I'm also going to check my sunscreen. :) It will be mineral based from now on. Excellent work here. Marvelous video and photos. Thanks Alicia for educating me. I'll pass this on!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 15, 2016:

Thank you so much for watching the videos and for all the shares, Peggy. The future of coral reefs is a worrying situation that we need to deal with in the present. I appreciate your visit and comment a great deal.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 15, 2016:

I found this hub of yours to not only be informative but fascinating as well. Each video was worth taking the time to view. That last one portends disaster. Hopefully it is not too late to save the coral reefs. We need them for many reasons. Will certainly consider what type of sunscreen we use in the future. Shared, pinned and tweeted. Excellent post!!!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 14, 2016:

Hi, aesta1. I agree - I hope the next generation and beyond are able to appreciate the beauty of the ocean. Thanks for the visit.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 14, 2016:

I am so sorry to see how our beautiful under water world is affected as I have enjoyed them immensely and would like to see the next generation enjoy it.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 12, 2016:

Hi, Fossillady. I'm impressed by that video, too. It's both moving and worrying. Thank you very much for the kind comment and the link. I appreciate them both!

Kathi from Saugatuck Michigan on January 12, 2016:

The video on Coral Reef and Climate change is amazing and powerful. The photography is very crisp! I will think twice before putting on sunscreen and try to use the brands that have zinc oxide! I am going to provide a link to this article on my fossil site where I have introduced different species of coral, both extinct and mostly from Florida! Great work, very thorough as usual Alicia!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 22, 2015:

Hi, kalinin1158. Thanks for the comment! I agree - it's a great idea to buy a sunscreen that's safe for humans. There are some unpleasant things in some sunscreens!

Lana Adler from California on December 22, 2015:

I haven't been using chemical sunscreens in a while, after reading about its link to skin cancer and other skin conditions. nowadays you can buy safe organic sunscreens almost anywhere, even at Walmart, so why not use it? Great article, Alicia!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 01, 2015:

Thank you very much for the comment, Kelsey! I appreciate your kindness. I'm sure you don't need to be embarrassed about your stuff!

Kelsey Elise Farrell from Orange County, CA on November 30, 2015:

This hub was so incredibly well researched I'm kind of embarrassed for some of the stuff I put out. Thank you for posting such an informative and useful hub!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 25, 2015:

Hi, Nell. Thanks for visiting and for the comment. I look for safe sunscreens, too. They are available.

Nell Rose from England on November 25, 2015:

Once again something I hadn't thought of, but is so important. I will definitely look out for the 'safe' suncream in future. I have a friend who has vitiligo too, she always wears big hats and dark glasses etc out in the sun, thanks I learned something new, nell

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 07, 2015:

Thank you so much for the comment and the shares, Patricia. Marine life is awesome, especially around coral reefs. It's great to hear about your experience! I appreciate your visit and the lovely angels a great deal.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 07, 2015:

Wow....quite a wondrous sharing, Alicia. Having swum in and among corals I do get it. Some of the most AMAZING fishes I ever saw up close and personal were there.

The video brought the danger home so clearly as does your article.

Thank you for taking the time to care...and then to write about it. shared g+ tweeted pinned

Angels are once again on the way to you ps

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 05, 2015:

Thank you very much for the comment, Martie! Unfortunately, oxybenzone is still a component of some sunscreens. It's a sad situation.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on November 05, 2015:

Wow! What an interesting article. Who would have guessed that sunscreens are going to have such a bad effect on corals? I hope they have already taken them off the shelves. I will take a good look at the ingredients whenever I need to buy a sunscreen again.

Thanks for a fascinating hub, Alicia!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 02, 2015:

Hi, Deb. Yes, the situation is depressing. We definitely do need to figure out how to reverse the effects and how to stop further damage to the environment. Thanks for the visit.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on November 02, 2015:

What have we wrought? It see,ms that everything nowadays is detrimental to the environment. We are simply destroying the earth, and once it is gone, so are we...This article gives a great awareness to what is going on in the destruction of the environment. Now, all we need to do is figure out on how to reverse the effects...

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 01, 2015:

Hi, Rabadi. It's nice to meet you! Thank you very much for the comment and the shares.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 01, 2015:

Hi, Flourish. Thanks for the comment. Sadly, I have to agree with you. We don't treat our home very well!

O from New York on November 01, 2015:

Congrats on getting editors choice, great blog, keep them coming! Passing this along to family and friends.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 31, 2015:

Such an important hub, Linda. Thank you for the information! We don't treat our home very well.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 31, 2015:

Thank you very much for the comment, Genna. The situation is certainly worrying. We are treating the ocean and its inhabitants badly at the moment. I hope things improve in the near future.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on October 31, 2015:

Beautiful, fascinating and disconcerting, Linda, with stunning photography. Really...this is a must-read for everyone.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 28, 2015:

Hi, Nadine. Thank you very much for such a kind comment! I love the video, too. I think it's very effective at showing the future of the ocean if we don't change our behaviour.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 28, 2015:

Hi, Rachel. Yes, I think there are a lot of things that we can do to help the situation. The problem is that many people aren't willing to do these things. I hope this situation changes! Thank you very much for the comment.

Blessings to you as well, Rachel.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 28, 2015:

Thank you very much for the visit and the comment, Devika.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on October 28, 2015:

I love the beauty of our Coral reefs and loved the photos but how sad that our pollution, apart from ( benzophenone-2 causes coral bleaching and damages coral DNA) and sunscreen as an example is threatening so many species. Great video: Coral Reefs and Climate Change. As always one of the best regular articles on Hubpages.

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on October 28, 2015:

Hi Alicia, I always loved coral reefs. I downloaded several pictures of the great coral reef on my computer so I can look at them every once in a while. It's shame if any of them at all get destroyed or ruined. I imagine there are a lot of things we humans can do to prevent that. Thank you for sharing this hub and all the great pictures.

Blessings to you.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 28, 2015:

Informative and beautiful images though such effects were not known to me until I read your hub.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 27, 2015:

Thank you so much, Sheila! I appreciate your kind comment and the share a great deal.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on October 27, 2015:

This is a very interesting and well written hub! It is very important to be careful as to what we put back into our environment. Your choice of photos and videos is excellent too! Sharing this! Great job! :)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 26, 2015:

Thank you very much for the kind comment, Kristen! I'm fascinated by coral reefs, too. They are home to such interesting creatures.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on October 26, 2015:

Once again, this was another one of your wonderful hubs. I've been always fascinated with coral reefs in the ocean and never heard of coral bleaching. I've been always interested with anything that deals with the environment--land and on the ocean. Great work with lovely photos!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 26, 2015:

Thanks for the visit, Larry. It is disturbing information. It's very worrying that our sunscreen may be damaging coral reefs.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on October 26, 2015:

Disturbing information. I didn't realize my sunscreen could have a negative effect on coral life. I'll have to choose sunscreen more carefully in the future.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 25, 2015:

Hi, Peg. Yes, I think it is very important that we know about household chemicals that can hurt the environment. Thanks for the comment!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 25, 2015:

That's an amazing story, Kailua-KonaGirl! Thank you very much for the interesting comment. I appreciate your visit.

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 25, 2015:

It's so important to know about these chemicals that we use so often and their damaging effects on the environment. Thanks for this informative article and the education about chemicals in common products. The photos were spectacular.

KonaGirl from New York on October 25, 2015:

I did not know this. Thank you so much for the valuable enlightenment! Now I am really glad I don't use sunscreen. I can hear the GASPS! Nope. Never used it in 60 plus years. I don't have skin cancer nor am I wrinkled up like an old prune from all the sun exposure I have had all my life. (Grin)

As a kid, all we ever used was zinc oxide on our noses when out surfing, but that was it.

Now that I know about this oxybenzone I will make a point to look for this ingredient in the products friends use when swimming in ocean waters and in also in other beauty products as well.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 25, 2015:

Thank you so much for the kind comment and for the desire to share the news, Buildreps. Thank you for sharing the information about scuba divers, too. It sounds like there is much work to be done.

Buildreps from Europe on October 25, 2015:

An amazing article, which I read two times before I fully understood the full scope of your message. I am an avid scuba diver, and have dived in many stunning and remote areas, but I never realized that I could have harmed some of these areas with the choice of the sunscreen :(

The thing is that many scuba divers and snorkellers have no idea how vulnerable these reefs are. I was in the supposition that I knew, and I'm simply flabbergasted that this obviously wasn't the case. I just don't know what to say.

Maybe I will shout it out loud from the rooftops. Thank you for covering this wonderful topic so well!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 25, 2015:

Thank you, drbj. I always appreciate your comments!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on October 25, 2015:

Fascinating information, Alicia, about corals and the potential damage caused by some sunscreens. Especially enjoyed the video of the coral reefs. Thanks for exposing us to your unique knowledge and research.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 25, 2015:

Thanks for the visit and the comment, Vellur. I appreciate your action, too!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on October 25, 2015:

Interesting and informative article. Will make sure that the sunscreen that I use does not harm the coral reefs and will spread the word.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 24, 2015:

Thank you very much for the comment and all the shares, Faith! I appreciate your kindness. So many cosmetics have sunscreen in them nowadays, which is good for providing sun protection. It's not good if it's hurting the environment, though.

Blessings to you as well, Faith.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on October 24, 2015:

Thank you so much for bringing all of this to our attention, dear Linda!

We certainly don't want to add to harming the coral and ourselves. My husband uses tons of sunscreen each day as he is so sensitive to the sun, but I am certainly going to check what he is using! My cosmetics have sunscreen in them and my moisturizer does too, so I need to find out exactly what is in them.

I will share everywhere to help get the word out.

Blessings always

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 24, 2015:

Thank you very much, Jodah. I appreciate your comment a great deal. I'm very glad that the oxybenzone situation is being publicized. The more people that hear about it, the better!

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on October 24, 2015:

Fantastic hub Alicia. I just watched current affairs program on tv two nights ago about the dangers that oxybenzone in sunscreens is posing to our Great Barrier Reef. Then I saw this hub. You certainly covered it all. Well done.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 24, 2015:

Thank you so much for such a kind comment, Mel. I appreciate your visit. I strongly believe that we are all interrelated, too. I wish more people realized that many of our actions affect other living things.

Mel Carriere from San Diego California on October 24, 2015:

Brilliantly researched and articulated hub. I am now going to be more conscious about the type of sunscreen I use, because I use it every day. So true that we are all interrelated, whether we wish to believe that or not. Great hub!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 24, 2015:

Hi, Blossom. Thanks for the visit. Like you, I think we should definitely be aware of our role in the problems faced by corals.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on October 24, 2015:

I've always wondered how much of what we put on our skin seeps into our bodies by osmosis. Thank you for an interesting article - we certainly need to be aware of the problems that we can cause for our beautiful coral reefs.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 24, 2015:

I'm sorry that you have lupus, Kylyssa. I would love the fact that benzophenone-3 may be harming the environment to be publicized, though! Thank you very much for the comment.

Kylyssa Shay from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on October 24, 2015:

I've been avoiding Oxybenzone sunscreens because I use so very much sunscreen to prevent lupus problems and it didn't seem like a good idea to be basically constantly soaking in the stuff. Skin can absorb a lot over time, especially if the skin is kept soft and hydrated by lotion carriers. Now I can just skip that explanation based on a vague concern about absorbing too much through my skin and tell people Benzophenone-3 may be bleaching the world's coral and I don't want to add buckets of it to the environment.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 24, 2015:

Thank you for such a lovely comment, Bill. I always appreciate your visits and support. I hope you have a great weekend, too!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 24, 2015:

Thank you, Bill. Yes, it is interesting that our everyday actions can have such important effects on the environment. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 24, 2015:

As I approach my 4th anniversary on HP I can honestly say I'm growing weary of reading so many hubs, but yours are always interesting. I always learn something that is fascinating from your articles, and I really appreciate the information you pass on to us...so thank you!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on October 24, 2015:

Very interesting Linda. It's amazing how something seemingly as simple as putting on sunscreen can have such an impact on the environment. Thanks for the education. Have a great weekend.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 23, 2015:

Hi, Audrey. Thank you very much for the visit and the comment. I agree with you - the situation is both sad and worrisome.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 23, 2015:

Thank you, Ali. I appreciate your comment and the virtual votes very much!

Audrey Howitt from California on October 23, 2015:

Great article--but so sad and worrisome

Ali A AlHejab from Saudi Arabia on October 23, 2015:

Great job on this hub, Alicia! I enjoy learning these types of Coral Bleaching and Oxybenzone by reading your informative hubs. All the ups except funny .

Best wishes

Ali

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 23, 2015:

I agree, Jackie. Coral reefs are beautiful, and I certainly don't want to damage them. Thank you very much for the comment.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on October 23, 2015:

Ah; there is just nothing more beautiful is there? I would certainly never want to do anything to damage them. Great message!

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