KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - Environmental groups are bringing awareness to the harmful effects of certain types of sunscreen on coral reef environments ahead of Hawaii's Ironman competition, which is expected to bring athletes and spectators from all over the world to the Big Island.
West Hawaii Today reports the findings of an October 2015 study by marine scientists identified oxybenzone, a chemical found in more than 3,500 sunscreen products, as a potential threat to coral reefs. Scientists determined the chemical induces coral bleaching and damages coral DNA.
Several environmental groups have drafted a letter to spread the word ahead of next month's Ironman competition. The event occurs during a crucial coral larval settlement period that occurs after spawning events in late summer.
Ironman official Diana Bertsch says the competition is also working to spread awareness about "reef-safe sunscreen."