The new proposed Hawaii state bill seeks to ban the only FDA-approved sunscreen ingredient that protects from cancerogenic UVA and works well for people with darker skin tones. Skincare consumer website What’s In My Jar warns that, if passed, the bill will jeopardize the skin health of people of color in Hawaii, but is not likely to bring any environmental benefits.
According to the skincare consumer website What’s In My Jar, 56% of the US sunscreens that offer broad-spectrum protection (that is can protect both from the UVB and UVA rays) contain either of the two ingredients (avobenzone and octocrylene) suggested for the new Hawaii ban. Avobenzone is especially critical for skin cancer prevention as it is one of the only two FDA-approved sunscreen ingredients that offer protection in the UVA spectrum. The other UVA-protective ingredient, zinc oxide, has an opaque white color and can leave an unsightly greyish cast on dark skin. Octocrylene is often used together with avobenzone to increase its stability and offer longer-term sun protection.
“If the ban for avobenzone and octocrylene will be implemented in Hawaii, it will put especially people of color living in or visiting Hawaii at higher risk of skin cancer, pigmentation disorders, and premature skin aging. The scientific evidence available at the moment is not sufficient to conclude that avobenzone and octocrylene are harmful to coral reefs in real-life conditions. The health risks for people from the proposed sunscreen ingredient ban clearly outweigh the uncertain and unlikely benefits for the environment. Passing this regulation might seriously set