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Hawai‘i Legislators introduce bipartisan bill to ban sunscreens containing ingredients not considered “Safe and Effective” by the FDA

Hawai‘i Legislators introduce bipartisan bill to ban sunscreens containing

ingredients not considered “Safe and Effective” by the FDA


Builds on 2018 reef-safe law to include human health concerns raised in recent FDA studies


MEDIA ADVISORY: A press conference will be held on January 30 at 1 p.m. [at the 1st Floor

Rotunda of the Hawai‘i Capitol Building.]


HONOLULU - Members of the Hawai‘i State Senate and House of Representatives introduced a

bipartisan bill to ban all sunscreen SPF products that are not “General Recognized as Safe and

Effective” by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.


In the Senate, SB2278 was introduced by Senators Mike Gabbard, Gil Riviere, Russell

Ruderman, Sharon Moriwaki, and Clarence Nishihara. In the House, HB2248 was introduced by

Representatives Gene Ward, Rida Cabanilla Arakawa, Chris Lee, Amy Perruso, David Tarnas,

Chris Todd, Tom Brower, Lynn DeCoite, and Dee Morikawa.


This legislation builds upon the 2018 law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2021, in which

Hawai‘i banned the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. This law will

reduce the impact of sunscreen pollution to Hawai‘i’s coral reefs. Oxybenzone and octinoxate

were demonstrated to contaminate much of Hawai‘i’s coastline at concentrations that are

poisonous to coral, fish, sea urchins and algae, as well as marine mammals and sea turtles. Other

countries and jurisdictions followed Hawai‘i’s example, implementing their own bans, including

Palau, Aruba, Bonaire, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Marshall Islands, and the city of Key West.

The new bill introduced this month is intended to address concerns about certain sunscreen

ingredients on human health. Recent FDA studies have demonstrated potential negative health

effects of a number of other ingredients that are still allowed in Hawai‘i.


On January 21, 2020, Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation

and Research, said, “To support sunscreen safety, the FDA tested whether various sunscreen

ingredients can be absorbed through the skin into the body. Results from our study released

today show there is evidence that some sunscreen active ingredients may be absorbed.” She

called for further research to determine the health effects. FDA news release (January 21, 2020):

FDA announces results from second sunscreen absorption study

According to WebMD, “Previous research has shown that some of the ingredients in the FDA

study can disrupt hormones and may lead to fertility problems, poor birth outcomes for babies,

and perhaps cancer.” WebMD (January 21, 2020): FDA Sunscreen Report Raises Concern Over



Under this legislation, only zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sunscreens would be allowed to be

sold in Hawai‘i, as these are the only two ingredients that are “General Recognized as Safe and

Effective” by the FDA.


Fourteen other ingredients would be banned. PABA and Trolamine were determined to be NOT

safe for over-the-counter use. Twelve other ingredients the FDA said there was not enough data

to determine if the health risks of being exposed to these drugs outweigh the benefits, or whether

these drugs are actually effective in reducing UV-exposure. This includes oxybenzone and

octinoxate which were banned in 2018, and homosalate, avobenzone, and octocrylene which are

currently allowed to be sold in Hawai‘i.


CNN (January 21, 2020): Seven sunscreen chemicals enter bloodstream after one use, FDA says,

but don't abandon sun protection


Experts available for interview (will appear at press conference):

  • Toxicologist, Joe DiNardo:
  • Dr. Craig Downs, Executive Director, Haereticus Environmental Laboratory


About the author

Dr. Howard Dryden

Dr. Howard Dryden

Dr. Dryden has unique knowledge combination of biology, chemistry and technology and is the inventor of the activated, bio-resistant filter media AFM®. Dr. Dryden is one of the world`s leading experts in sustainable water treatment.

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