It's estimated that 10,000 tons of sunscreen end up in riverways in the U.S. every single year. Preventing this from happening is a bit tricky, but choosing eco-friendly sunscreen brands is easy, and something we should all do to protect our rivers.
The majority of sunscreens contain chemicals that are harmful to river ecosystems. The worst of these chemicals are oxybenzone and octinoxate, and alarmingly they are equally as dangerous to humans as they are rivers. Recent studies have discovered that they are hormone disruptors. For rivers, that means these chemicals harm the river ecosystem and hinder their ability to heal. And aquatic life exposed to these endocrine-disrupting compounds pass on health problems to future generations, including deformities, reduced survival, and reproductive issues.
For us humans, consistent use of these chemicals can cause cellular changes and affect our hormonal balance. These chemicals are also famous for making your eyes burn and causing allergic reactions.
The good news is there are many brands that have stepped up and removed these chemicals from their sunscreen formula.
Scientists are researching other chemicals that may cause harm to waterways and humans and we’ll be sure to keep this blog updated with new information. In the meantime:
Opt for a sunscreen brand that doesn’t contain the two chemicals the FDA identified as the most damaging to humans and the environment: oxybenzone and octinoxate.
Know that most of baby sunscreens are safe don't contain these ingredients.
Wear more hats and shirts for sun protection and opt for a sunscreen brand that cares.