Scientific paper on coral bleaching
December 15, 2013
Sea Urchin Assay
January 15, 2014

Sunscreen chemical in soaps and perfumes pose threat to coral reefs

Benzophenone-2 is used as an ultraviolent light protector for liquid products such as laundry detergents, soaps and shampoos, and body fragrances.  It enters into the environment via 2 major routes: (a) coming off our bodies when we get into the water to swim and (b) as waste-water run-off from sewage outfalls, surface and groundwater intrusions on to coral reefs from cess pits, shallow septic leach fields, and greywater discharges from boats.  HEL scientists discovered that:

  • this chemical causes corals to bleach,
  • it results in DNA damage to corals, and
  • is especially toxic to juvenile corals.

This chemical may be a serious threat to both coral reef conservation, and coral reef restoration.

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