In 2018 at the INNOCOS conference in Florence Aethic launched a campaign called ‘Prove it!’ To urge greater transparency and the substantiation of eco-claims across the sunscreen sector.
Thousands of sunscreens containing ingredients which are harmful to coral have been banned by a global landmark bill presented by Senator Mike Gabbard in Hawaii and signed into law by Gov. David Ige.
Now the island nation of Palau and Key West, Florida have followed this lead.
Yet, whereas there is scientific proof for the damage done by products containing ingredients such as oxybenzone, there is seldom the equivalent scientific proof to support the claims of many so called ’reef safe’ products in their final form.
’Biodegradable’, another term often used, is also irrelevant in the marine context. Ingredients might degrade, dilute, break down or sink in sea water yet they may still do damage. Just one particle of a harmful ingredient can set off a viral epidemic in coral.
Some studies claim that even titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are often touted as ‘organic’, ‘mineral’ or ‘natural’ ingredients may, in certain forms with/without certain coatings, also be damaging to coral.