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Sunscreen vs. Coral

Submitted by: Selena Guo

At the beach, it is essential to use sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s UV light. In fact, it’s recommended to wear sunscreen everyday, even when the sun isn’t out! By putting on sunscreen at the beach and then entering the water, however, you might be having an adverse effect on the environment.


In a study published in the journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, the chemical oxybenzone in sunscreens has been found to cause endocrine disruption, DNA damage, and death in young corals. It also causes the bleaching of corals. About 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen enter coral reefs each year, a highly toxic statistic when toxicity occurs at 62 parts per trillion.

Colorful coral reef.jpg.824x0_q71_crop-scale

Coral reefs are not, contrary to popular belief, non-living deposits of minerals or shell. Coral is a living invertebrate that grows in colonies which are home to a variety of fish and plant life. By harming the coral, the inhabitants are likewise hurt as well.

It is important to still recognize the importance of sunscreen. The Environmental Working Group has created a list of sunscreens that are safe to use.

About Cindy Guo

Cindy is senior at Henry M. Gunn High School and is incredibly honored to be a part of the Rising Star Magazine team. She enjoys belting out Disney songs, playing piano, watching Chinese dramas, and babysitting. Cindy serves as California DECA's VP of Silicon Valley and is also the singing teacher at FCSN and the President of HEARTS Nonprofit. She can be contacted at cindy@risingstarmagazine.com

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