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Thursday, January 31, 2008

What’s Killing the Coral Reefs?

posted by on January 31 at 13:20 PM

Sunscreen worn by swimmers, snorkelers, and divers:

The sunscreen that you dutifully slather on before a swim on the beach may be protecting your body—but a new study finds that the chemicals are also killing coral reefs worldwide.

Four commonly found sunscreen ingredients can awaken dormant viruses in the symbiotic algae called zooxanthellae that live inside reef-building coral species….

The researchers estimate that 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers annually in oceans worldwide, and that up to 10 percent of coral reefs are threatened by sunscreen-induced bleaching.

Via Towleroad.

RSS icon Comments


Of course, the oceans turning more acidic from global warming emissions have nothing to do with it, right?

Excuse me while I pour this liter of vinegar in your bathtub ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 31, 2008 1:31 PM

I wear that t-shirt when I swim to protect the coral, not to cover my man boobs.

Posted by John_Bigboote | January 31, 2008 2:19 PM

Sunscreen smells pleasant.

Posted by Amelia | January 31, 2008 2:29 PM


Posted by Gloria | January 31, 2008 2:30 PM
5 bad!

Posted by joan rivers | January 31, 2008 2:53 PM

Everyone should be required to swim nude in all public waterways. Especially in areas of coral reefs! If this were an international law, the problem would largely solve itsself, as US citizens would never bare their flabby asses just to go snorkeling.

Support Body Freedom and push for mandatory nudity in all warm water parts of the world! :)

A person can dream can't they?

Posted by Nude is not lewd | January 31, 2008 3:57 PM

Actually that isn't a half bad idea. It's too bad we can't get the general body comfortable with their bodies no matter what size, shape or gender they are.

Americans are the most uptight people in the world, and it is embarassing to be known as one when travelling internationally.

I'd love to see the idea of nude bathing, swimming, snorkeling become accepted in every locale.

Posted by World Traveller | January 31, 2008 4:01 PM

Nude swimming and sunbathing is going to make the sunscreen problem worse, not better.

Posted by Fnarf | January 31, 2008 4:06 PM

Nude swimming isn't going to make the problem worse.

You'll find that most people who swim or bathe nude regularly already have a deep tan, thus requiring no sunscreen most of the time.

Sunscreen is most commonly globbed on by those who only poke their neck out of their turtleneck for a few days each year.

If people actually kept a bit of a base tan, and had their bodies in shape, hydrated and moisturized, they wouldn't have much need for sun block except under extreme circumstances.

We have such a paranoia in the American culture with having a bit of skin color, thanks to overzealous conservative dermatologists, that people are scared out of their mind to have any kind of a tan.

As with anything moderation is in order, however Americans are famous for ignoring this little ditty.

Posted by World Traveller | January 31, 2008 4:57 PM

Not if you're dark-complexioned, Fnarf. Then you can skip the sunscreen.

Interesting story, tho, my neighbor in Trail would get sunburnt too, you just couldn't tell it as easily due to his dark skin.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 31, 2008 4:58 PM

That's not an interesting story, Will.

Posted by Fnarf | January 31, 2008 5:06 PM


Speak for yourself. No amount of base tan keeps me from getting scorched if I forget the sunscreen.

Perhaps we should apply the same rules to the ocean as we have for the public pool: Shower with soap before getting in.

Posted by keshmeshi | January 31, 2008 5:57 PM

don't look at me - I would never subject the world to the sight of me in a swimsuit.

And if I did, I would wear one of those turn-of-the-century ones that only require sunscreen on the calves and forearms.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | January 31, 2008 9:30 PM

i'm so worried about the baggage retrieval system they've got at heathrow.

Posted by anonymous | January 31, 2008 9:45 PM

@9 no. I live in Florida. And it doesn't matter, I will always burn after 5 minutes. And my 15 year old sister (an avid hiker who spends many hours in sunlight every day) just got skin cancer.

Also, there recently started to be dead tadpoles floating in the lake near me after they mandated sunscreen for all children.

Clothes/hats are actually the best option.

Posted by mintygreen | February 3, 2008 9:50 AM

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