8 May 2018

Sunscreen ban could increase Hawaii skin cancer risk

1:24 pm on 8 May 2018

The risk of developing skin cancer could increase in Hawaii if a bill banning the sale of certain types of sunscreen becomes law, dermatologists say.

No caption

Photo: Skincancer.org

Hawaii is set to become the first American state to prohibit sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, which some scientists say contribute to coral bleaching.

The chemicals are used in over three-and-a-half thousand popular sunscreen products.

The bill has been passed by Hawaii's legislature but has yet to be signed into law by Governor David Ige.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association said it was concerned that the risk of Hawaiians' developing skin cancer would increase if the bill was signed.

The association's president, Suzanne Olbricht, said the death rate from melanoma in Hawaii was already 30 percent higher than the US national average.

"The public's risk of developing skin cancer could increase due to potential new restrictions in Hawaii that impact access to sunscreens with ingredients necessary for broad-spectrum protection, as well as the potential stigma around sunscreen use that could develop as a result of these restrictions," Dr Olbricht said.

"Claims that sunscreen ingredients currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration are toxic to the environment or a hazard to human health have not been proven."

If the bill was passed, however, Hawaiians could still choose sunscreens with ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, she said.

While there were many safe and effective sunscreen products on the market, Dr Olbricht said her association supported the introduction of new sunscreen ingredients which provided consumers with the best possible protection.