Holland and Barrett ban chemicals in sun creams linked to damaging coral reefs
Holland and Barrett, the health food shop chain, are the first UK retailer to ban the sale of all sun care products that contain Oxybenzone and Octinoxate. Protecting ‘the ocean from lotions’ was the motive behind their decision due to the damage these chemicals have been found to have on marine life including coral reefs.
The company highlights these two chemicals as key culprits in damaging vulnerable marine life out of the 14,000 tonnes of sun cream that washes into the ocean annually. The research they based the decision on indicates that one drop of Oxybenzone in the equivalent of six and a half Olympic sized swimming pools of water is enough to cause damage. Their decision comes following the lead of countries Hawaii and Thailand who have announced complete bans on the ingredients.
Unfortunately, tests carried out on the chemicals on sun creams have shown that these two chemicals are not the only ones we should be concerned about. The Danish Consumer Council tested 36 different sun creams and 16 sun sticks last summer and found many contained endocrine disrupting chemicals. These can interfere with the vital functions hormones carry out in the human body and even lead to the development of certain cancers.
What can we do about this as consumers?
As Spring brings us some sunnier weather, it might be worth looking at the back of your sun cream bottle to see whether it contains any ingredients harmful to human health or the environment. Click here for more on the tests carried out by the Danish Consumer Council on chemicals in sun cream to avoid. However, beyond substituting your sunscreen, using other methods such as covering up and staying in the shade are other good strategies recommended by the World Health Organisation.
Whilst it is great to see retailers taking steps to ban harmful chemicals in their products, there is still a long way to go to properly protect human, wildlife and environmental health. CHEM Trust works to get all harmful chemicals including hormone disrupting chemicals banned from consumer products in the EU and UK.
For more information on chemicals in cosmetics and skin products check out our website here.