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Palau Just Became The First Country In The World To Ban Reef-Killing Sunscreen

By Koty Neelis

Palau has been making a lot of headlines lately for their eco-friendly efforts lately. Last week the Western Pacific nation, which is located between the Philippines and Guam, announced it will be home to the world's largest microgrid. Now, the country plans to ban reef toxic sunscreen by 2020 in an attempt to protect its coral reefs after the president of the country signed a bill into law.

Palau defines the banned "reef-toxic" sunscreens as containing any one of 10 chemicals, including oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are found in the vast majority of sunscreens sold in the U.S., according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. Starting in January 2020, tourists who bring banned sunscreen into the country will have them confiscated and retailers who attempt to sell them and break the ban will face fines of $1,000. 

The president of Palau, Tommy Remengesau Jr. signed The Responsible Tourism Education Act of 2018, and called it “especially timely,” saying that the driving force behind the move was a 2017 report that found sunscreen products to be “widespread” in Jellyfish Lake, one of the country’s Unesco World Heritage sites.