Oxybenzone causing damage to coral reefs around the world

Oxybenzone causing damage to coral reefs around the world

Oxybenzone commonly used in sunscreen lotions and other products has been found to be having extremely damaging effects on the coral reefs around the world. The chemical not only damages living coral reefs, but it also leads to DNA damage in adults and affects DNA in larval coral.

The situation is tense as more than 3,500 sunscreen products are there in the world and the chemical is present in them. Though all coral reefs are at risk, juvenile corals face maximum risk to the effects of the chemicals.

The chemical reaches in water as swimmers use sunscreens in which it is present. It can also come through wastewater coming from the sewage outfalls and coastal septic systems. As per researchers, oxybenzone has held responsible for many forms of toxicity including coral bleaching. It has been found between 5 to 20 miles from the shores.

“We found the lowest concentration to see a toxicity effect was 62 parts per trillion - equivalent to a drop of water in six and a half Olympic-sized swimming pools”, said Dr. Omri Bronstein of TAU's Department of Zoology.

As mentioned above, oxybenzone causes damage to the DNA of the corals as well. It leaves them incapable of reproducing owing to which a shortage is coming of coral population. The scientists are expecting that people will become aware of the harmful effects of sunscreen and will try to find other ways to have sun protection.

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