Palau is first country to ban ‘reef toxic’ sun cream

The Pacific nation of Palau has become the first country to ban sun cream that is harmful to corals and sea life.

From Wednesday, sun cream that includes common ingredients, including oxybenzone, is not allowed to be worn or sold in the country.

Palau’s President Tommy Remengesau said: “We have to live and respect the environment because the environment is the nest of life.”

The island nation markets itself as a “pristine paradise” for divers.

A lagoon in Palau’s Rock Islands is a Unesco World Heritage site. The country has a population of around 20,000 dotted across hundreds of islands.

The ban – which was announced in 2018 – prohibits sun cream containing any of 10 ingredients. The list includes oxybenzone and octinoxate, which absorb ultraviolet light.

The International Coral Reef Foundation said the banned chemicals were “known environmental pollutants – most of them are… incredibly toxic to juvenile stages of many wildlife species”.

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