My inner Environmental Activist has been activated and inspired by the news out of
. Reef Safe Sunscreen has become the big dock topic for me and many other knowledgeable Captains and ocean stewards as well. We have come to the realization that we are a BIG
part of the problem. I recently read an
with this quote that woke me up: "The use of oxybenzone or octinoxate containing products needs to be seriously deliberated in islands and areas where coral reef conservation is a critical issue," says Craig Downs, Ph.D., Executive Director of the environmental lab
. "Any small effort to reduce oxybenzone pollution could mean that a coral reef survives a long, hot summer or that a degraded area recovers." This speaks volumes to me, as NOAA is currently partnering with
Mote Marine Lab
and funding research on coral specimens' mysterious disease, as well as to preserve and regrow them while we are undergoing yet another influx of coral bleaching here at the moment. This is in the hopes that we could regrow the reef after the problem is resolved.
The article that started me off on this latest quest for reef preservation was sent to me by a caring dolfriend, Juels. This
stated, "Approximately 52 percent of beach and sport sunscreens use oxybenzone, a benzophenone chemical that the EWG gives a high-hazard "8" ranking for its link to cellular damage, endocrine disruption, and skin absorption." Not surprisingly, oxybenzone is the same ingredient that has come under fire by the
Environmental Working Group
for its potential health risks to humans, including allergies, immunotoxicity, and endometriosis. Juels and I are E-activists for
and they are spearheading the campaign to get rid of toxic sunscreen in the Florida Keys. All of you could be E-activists as well, no matter where you live, just by sharing this info with others.
I know it would be great to open a fun and happy newsletter from me all
about the dolphin. My reality check hasn't bounced yet, so here I go being the activist I am at heart and for standing with the Reef Relief Sunscreen Campaign. Of late I have been asking folks on the phone when they call to charter, "what's in your sunscreen?" It's an awareness question for all of us. Not all "Reef Safe" or "Reef Friendly" claims are regulated, sprays evidently are the worst and unsafe around a boat deck as well, it makes it slippery!
Personally, I have been using a product made by my friend, Priscilla Cox, here in Key West and love it.
, a natural sunscreen and bug repellent that smells delicious. Other good choices for natural and mineral sunscreens are Goddess Garden Organics, All Good, and Raw Elements. I am sure there are many more, just read the labels.
I'm going to do my part to educate my charters on the effects of these toxic chemicals not only on our skin, but in our environment. I am challenging all other Florida Keys boat captains and ocean enthusiasts to do the same and to say NO to toxic sunscreens on our boats, beaches and bodies in the Keys, just like Hawaii did.
It is my greatest desire to see a banner hung under the Welcome to Key West sign, that now has a Queen Conch on it, stating that we are A Sunscreen Aware Island City. We need to get the conversation rolling at least. Enough of my soap box already. Now on to other news.