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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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr. Craig Downs, Executive Director, Haereticus Environmental Laboratory