Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Sunscreen and Coral Reefs


Recently I snorkeled some coral reefs off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico and was surprised to be informed that I should not be using sunblock while doing so. Obviously coral reef preservation is an important concern and I had read that a changing climate is altering the symbiosis in coral reefs and has resulted in coral bleaching, however I was completely unaware that sunscreen (ie blocking my vitamin D production) had an environmental impact. Seriously disappointingly I can't find anything on the internet about sunscreen effects on coral reefs other than claims specifically made by diving/snorkeling sites off the coast of the Yucatan. Also the majority of information on biodegradable sunscreen is from tourist directed websites and forums about Cancun and the Yucatan peninsula. Certainly with something as apparently delicate as coral reefs it is probably best to be cautious but where is the science on this issue? Sounds like a great research project full of sun and snorkeling. Interestingly there is some research on deriving sunscreens from compounds found in coral reefs.
I'm definitely waiting on Melanotan. However because of it's biological activity it might be even more harmful to reef life.


6 comments:

Rick MacPherson said...

Hi, Rob...

We get asked this question a lot at CORAL... that is what is the effect, if any, that excess amounts of human sunblock or sunscreen (washed-off of snorkeler's bodies and suspended as a film on the surface of seawater) could have on coral's ability to photosynthesize. The research and evidence we have found to date has been lacking or inconclusive (though Dave Gulko on Hawaii has been collecting some data that may be published soon).

Many factors contribute to making an easy answer difficult: volume and frequency of human traffic, amount of snorkelers wearing sunblock, degree of wave action and oceanic circulation in the dive site, etc.

Lacking conclusive evidence, we prefer to recommend a precautionary principle and encourage snorkelers to select sunscreens that do not wash-off easily or choose biodegradable sunscreens and sunblocks that easily break-down when washed off the skin. Better still, snorkelers can avoid sunblocks altogether and invest in an inexpensive snorkel/surf skin or suit (an ultra-thin Lycra or Spandex material that is close-fitting to the skin and blocks 100% of harmful UV radiation.)

Dido said...

melanotan protects the humas against the sn www.melanotan.eu i wish there was something like this for the coral.

Melanotan said...

Explore liquidsun-europe to Melanotan, Tanning injections,Buy melanotan, Melanotan Store , Buy Tanning injections.

buy kamagra said...

Those places are beautiful to watch everything under the sea, small fish, coral, molluscs, etc etc
But those places are about to be destroyed due to contamination.
Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Melanotan tanning blog http://melanotanhq.com/ visit to research about popular melanotropin usage

muebles palencia said...

Pretty worthwhile piece of writing, much thanks for the post.