Research has shown that the ingredients in most sunscreen, octocrylene, oxybenzone and octinoxate, are damaging to marine life. With the huge numbers of tourists that visit the VI and swim daily in the water, the amount of sunscreen and its harmful ingredients has a huge impact on the local eco-system.
On June 26, 2019, Virgin Islands legislators unanimously passed a bill to ban harmful sunscreens in the United States Virgin Islands. Senators Sarauw, Blyden, Jackson and Barnes worked to get the legislation through. Environmental advocate, St John resident, and President of Island Green Living, Harith Wickrema provided supporting information to protect the environment.
“Oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene devastate coral and marine life and are also known carcinogenic and hormone disruptors in humans,” said Wickrema. “In addition to environmental and human harm, tourism-based economies will experience financial devastation if coral and marine life die off. The ripple effect would be huge and we need to take action now.”
The bill is expected to be signed into law by Governor Albert Bryan by August of this year. The full ban goes into effect March, 2020.
What Sunscreen Should You Use?
Look for non-nano mineral sunscreen containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, which will protect against the sun and not harm coral. Sunscreen products made with organic and natural ingredients are also acceptable.
The best way to protect yourself from the sun, and the reefs from your lotion, is to avoid the cream altogether and opt to cover-up with swimwear instead
When you are packing your bag to enjoy a week at one of Windspree’s beautiful villas on St. John in the US Virgin Islands, remember to bring reef-safe sunscreen! We thank you, and the marine life thanks you!
Interested in booking St. John Virgin Islands rentals? The best resource is Windspree Vacation Homes, renting Virgin Islands vacation rentals for over 30 years. Book your St. John vacation rental from people who live on St. John and know the island best. For more information on Virgin Islands rentals and St. John USVI rentals, checkout Windspree.com, or call or text (340)201-3002.