Using reef-friendly sunscreen for your Destin vacation can help a non-profit

DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — A new initiative to use reef-friendly and reef-safe sunscreen in Florida aims to do more than shield away sunburns. It can also help the coral reefs.

Keep Florida Beautiful and Stream2Sea are teaming up to sell reef-friendly sunscreen and raise money for the environmentally focused non-profit.

Executive Director for Keep Florida Beautiful Savanna Christy lives in Destin, Florida. Christy said the partnership with Stream2Sea hits home for Okaloosa County tourism.

“Really it’s just about being educated. I’ve been diving here since I was ten years old and I’m just now learning these things,” said Christy. “The products that we’re using, these skin care products, sunscreen, conditioners, things like that that are getting into the environment. It can be toxic to not only marine life but also to freshwater systems.”

“Here they are super impactful since we are on the coast. Tourism is a driving factor and we have thousands and thousands of people on our beaches every day and we don’t really realize it. You think you’re just one person, you’re just putting on a little sunscreen. But over time the accumulation of the ingredients in these products that are entering the water, it builds up and it does have an impact.”

Savannah Christy

Stream2Sea is an FDA-registered sun protection company. The business started in 2015 and makes ocean-safe sunscreen and bath products. Stream2Sea is one of very few companies to have the Protect Land + Sea certification, meaning it is thoroughly tested not to harm the environment.

The company has dedicatedkfb10‘ as a 10% off code for all Stream2Sea products. 10% of those sales will go back to Keep Florida Beautiful projects.

“It’ll actually go to supporting our statewide initiatives supporting our mission,” said Chritsy. “We have a network of more than 45 local affiliates across the state all working collaboratively on litter prevention, education, community beautification, waste reduction, you know proper recycling, overall sustainability, and Environmental Conservation.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the following ingredients listed on sunscreen bottles can harm marine life:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Benzophenone-1
  • Benzophenone-8
  • 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor
  • 3-Benzylidene camphor
  • nano-Titanium dioxide
  • nano-Zinc oxide
  • Octinoxate
  • Octocrylene

NOAA lists these ingredients’ impact on marine life.

  • How sunscreen chemicals can affect marine life:
    • Green Algae: Can impair growth and photosynthesis.
    • Coral: Accumulates in tissues. Can induce bleaching, damage DNA, deform young, and even kill.
    • Mussels: Can induce defects in young.
    • Sea Urchins: Can damage immune and reproductive systems, and deform young.
    • Fish: Can decrease fertility and reproduction, and cause female characteristics in male fish.
    • Dolphins: Can accumulate in tissue and be transferred to young people.

The US Environmental Protection Agency advises citizens to use sunscreen that is better for the ocean’s coral population.

Take a reef-friendly approach to sun protection. Some ingredients in sunscreen can be harmful to or even kill corals. Inform yourself of safer choices for coral. Better yet, cut down on sunscreen use by wearing a long-sleeved shirt or rash guard to prevent sunburn.

More about Keep Florida Beautiful:

As a state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, Keep Florida Beautiful (KFB) is an umbrella organization that brings together more than 40 county and city affiliates. KFB, in conjunction with the Keep America Beautiful (KAB) Affiliates of Florida, is proud to be one of Florida’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organizations.

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