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Hawaii bans sale of certain sunscreens in order to protect coral reefs

Hawaii is doing something about dying coral reefs, becoming the first state to ban the sale of any sunscreen containing oxybenzone or octinoxate.

Gov. David Ige (D) signed the legislation on Tuesday, saying this is "just one small step toward protecting and restoring the resiliency of Hawaii's reefs." The ban will go into effect in 2021.

Oxybenzone and octinoxate are in the majority of sunscreens, and scientists say the chemicals increase coral bleaching, cause genetic damage to coral and other marine organisms, and cause mortality in developing coral, USA Today reports. Once those sunscreen products are prohibited, they will only be available in Hawaii to people with a prescription from their physician.