USVI’s Sunscreen Ban Officially Takes Effect

(bymuratdeniz/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images) Photo by bymuratdeniz/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

On March 30, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ historic “Toxic 3 Os” Sunscreen Ban officially went into effect, making the territory the first in the United States to implement a ban of sunscreen chemicals that are known to destroy coral and cause health risks for people. (Similar laws in Hawaii and Key West, Florida are set to commence in January 2021.)

The USVI ban bars octinoxate in addition to the chemicals included in Hawaii and Key West legislation (oxybenzone and octocrylene; the “toxic 3 Os”), which ensures safer mineral sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the default choice. 

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there is scientific evidence indicating these chemicals are deadly to coral and threaten overall reef health. They wash off people’s bodies when they swim and contaminate through wastewater runoff and cause coral bleaching, “zombie’”coral, which looks healthy but is unable to reproduce, and other issues. The good news is that once these chemicals are out of the water, the coral can rejuvenate. 

FREE CRUISE NEWSLETTER

Like This Story? Subscribe to the Cruise Newsletter!

The latest product launches, deals, sales promotions, and executive appointments in the cruise industry. Keep up on the latest cruise industry news.

"It is imperative that our coral and marine life are protected,” said Lisa Hamilton, president of the U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association. “We are working with our membership to ensure visitors to our islands have access to safe sunscreens and are informed of the dangers posed by oxybenzone, octocrylene and octinoxate." Coral reefs take up less than one percent of the ocean floor but are home to more than 25 percent of marine life. They are vital to protecting coastlines and supporting life in oceans and have the highest biodiversity of any of the planet’s eco-systems.

Once visitors are again welcomed to the territory, an education system will notify them of the sunscreen ban via their hotels, villas and airlines. Signage in ports and at the airport will also be in place, with information about switching out toxic sunscreens for products that meet the new mandate.

There are a plethora of safe sunscreen options available, such as those offered by Stream2Sea and Badger.

Related Stories

St. Kitts Music Festival 2020 Postponed

The Beaumont in London Switches to Plastic-Free Toiletries

St. Lucia Debuts Social Media Virtual Escapes Series

Intrepid Partners With Lonely Planet, Goes “Carbon-Positive”

Suggested Articles:

Escape Adventures has announced a six-day camping and cycling trip in Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Read more here.

On June 15, the first nine flights of Brussels Airlines will take off from Brussels Airport. See the updated set of health and safety protocols here.

According to CzechTourism USA & Canada, there are signs that doors could open to international guests in the near future. Learn more here.