ST. JOHN, U.S. Virgin Islands, Aug. 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Governor Albert Bryan Jr. recently made history with the signing of Act 8185, banning the importation, sale and distribution of sunscreen containing the “toxic 3 Os” of oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene in the territory, protecting coral, marine life and human health. The legislation, which passed unanimously and was co-sponsored by eight senators led by Senator Marvin A. Blyden and Senator Janelle K. Sarauw, makes the USVI the first to embrace the FDA’s recent announcement recognizing only zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (mineral sunscreen) as safe and effective sunscreen ingredients. The USVI ban adds the ingredient octocrylene to the chemicals prohibited in Hawaii and Key West, meaning safer mineral sunscreens become the default choice. The full ban goes into effect nine months earlier than the other U.S. bans, on March 30, 2020, with certain limitations beginning immediately.
“Tourism in the Virgin Islands is our lifeblood – but to ensure we continue to entice visitors with our world-class beaches and natural beauty in the coming years, we need to protect our coral reefs as part of our quest to initiate sustainable tourism,” said Governor Albert Bryan Jr. “This is crucial all over the Caribbean and I call on others to join me. We all share and must protect our oceans.” Senator Sarauw added, “These chemicals not only poison our waters, they poison us. They have been found in breast milk, blood and urine and cause cell damage that may lead to cancer, disrupt hormones and can cause severe allergies. There are safer, more sustainable alternatives such as non nano mineral sunscreens that don’t injure our reefs or our health.”