Reef-toxic sunscreen now banned in Palau

The resolution calls for a pause to the designation of critical coral habitats all around Guam. (file photo)

Palau has officially banned sunscreen containing chemicals that are toxic to its coral reefs.

The landmark legislation took effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

According to a public notice posted by the Palau government, reef-toxic sunscreens are those that contain any of the following prohibited chemicals:

  • Oxybenzone (BP3)
  • Octylmethoxycinnamate (EHMC)
  • Octocrylene (OC)
  • 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor (4MBC)
  • Triclosan
  • Methyl Paraben
  • Ethyl Paraben
  • Butyl Paraben
  • Benzyl Paraben
  • Phenoxythanol

Any sunscreen imported or offered for sale after Jan. 1  will be subject to confiscation. Stores selling the banned product could face fines of up to $1,000 per violation.

Reef-Safe sunscreens that do not contain any prohibited chemicals may be imported and sold in Palau, according to the notice.

“This decision was made based on scientific research, and is necessary to protect Palau’s pristine reefs and ecosystems,” the Palau government said in response to the sunscreen-ban.