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Sunscreen Restrictions in Effect for Kealakekua Bay

January 3, 2020, 4:00 PM HST
* Updated January 3, 3:12 PM
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Sunscreen restrictions for Kealakekua Bay State Historic Park are now in effect, one year ahead of a state wide ban on lotions containing reef-damaging chemicals.

The Hawai‘i State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) issued new requirements for all Kealakekua Bay special permit holders of new reef-safe sunscreen and human waste requirements beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

Sunscreen containing oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, avobenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, and nano particles are not allowed. Reef-safe sunscreens contain ingredients such as zinc, zinc oxide, and/or titanium dioxide.

Sun protective clothing can also be used instead of sunscreen when practical.

The Fairwind Cruises is a tour company that regularly takes gets on snorkeling trips to Kealakekua Bay. They praised DLNR’s efforts to protect the South Kona waters.

Kealakekua Bay. PC: DLNR

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“We applaud the new sunscreen restrictions and self-contained human waste requirements for Kealakekua Bay. These are important steps the DLNR has taken towards helping mitigate and manage some of the stressors on the near shore marine environment in Kealakekua Bay. These new rules will help to improve the water quality at Kealakekua Bay for everyone,” said Fair Wind Cruises Executive Vice President Mendy Dant.

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Fairwind officials added they’ve been providing complimentary reef-safe sunscreen to all guests for the past couple years, as well as education and increased awareness on its importance.

“Now with these new rules, our current ‘reef safe sunscreen only’ policy helps put some teeth behind the message and should be easier for us to enforce,” Dant said.

DLNR has also issued requirements for all motorized vessels permitted to operate in Kealakekua Bay to have a self-contained human waste system on board their vessel for use by passengers.

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State lawmakers passed a bill on May 1, 2018 that prohibits the sale and distribution of sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

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