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These Tiny Beads Remove A Toxic Sunscreen Chemical From Oceans

By Nicole Caldwell

The same UV-blocking chemical that helps sunscreen protect your skin causes serious damage to coral reefs. Now, lab researchers at the University of Puerto Rico have created tiny beads out of algae and lobster shells that can actually absorb the offending chemical right out of the ocean, leaving reefs (and your unburned skin) totally intact. It's not the whole solution, but it offers an optimistic step in the right direction.

Snorkelers and divers are unintentionally causing harm to coral reefs. 

Snorkelers and divers will be the first to tell you how precious and delicate reefs are. Unfortunately, those are often the same people unwittingly doing damage to the areas they explore, when sunscreen that’s on the skin washes off underwater and comes in contact with coral. Oxybenzone, the UV-blocking chemical that functions as the active ingredient in most sunblock, wreaks havoc on reefs. 

One study found that the chemical makes coral more prone to bleaching, damages the DNA of coral, causes abnormal skeletal growth, and correlates with serious deformities in baby coral. And that’s all in addition to what oxybenzone does to marine life.