Q: What is biodegradable sunscreen?
A: Biodegradable sunblock is environmentally friendly sunscreen that lacks the harmful ingredients that are destroying the world's coral reefs. These sunscreens are biodegradable, meaning they break down naturally in the environment, and eco-friendly, meaning that they minimize damage to the environment.
Q: Is biodegradable sunscreen required for your tours?
A: Cabo has not yet instituted a law requiring biodegradable sunscreen like areas around Cancun, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen have. However, whether required or not we strongly encourage using only biodegradable sunscreen anytime you are going to be in the water. It is one small thing every visitor to Cabo can do to protect the marine environment for future generations.
Q: What kind of damage does sunscreen do to the marine ecosystem?
A: One of the most harmful things to the natural underwater environment of Mexico and elsewhere is the sunscreens, oils, and sunblocks worn by tourists. We don't think of it, but when we swim in the water, these oils come off and settle on the coral reefs and other marine life, and in volume can almost act like an oil slick in the water, creating damage to the delicate ecosystems. The reefs are suffocated, and sunscreens are one of the biggest causes of bleaching to our reefs, and the death of much of the world's coral.
Q: Why does coral get bleached? Is coral bleaching really a problem?
A: The ingredients in normal sunscreens promote viral infection in the coral, as well as covering it with oils and goo. Between 4,000 and 6,000 tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers every year on their vacations. As much as 25% of the world's coral reefs are in imminent danger of collapse due to human pressures, and another 25% is in longer term danger.
Q: I've never heard of this before. Are you making this stuff up?
A: See the links below for the latest information.
National Geographic: Swimmer's Sunscreen Killing Off Corals
Discover Magazine: The Biology of Sunscreens
E-Turbo News: Tourist Sunscreen Killing Off Coral Reefs
University of California: Sunscreens Feminizing Fish
Indian Ocean Sea Turtles: Sunscreen May Be Killing Corals
Q: Where can I buy Biodegradable Sunscreen?
A: We've provided some resources for you in the right hand column. Just click on the images to read more about the products.
Q: Are there certain ingredients to watch out for?
A: Some of the most harmful ingredients that many sunscreens contain, including some that are actually biodegradable such as those made by Nature's Gate, are PABA, octinoxate, oxybenzone, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor and the preservative butylparaben. If your sunscreen has any of these ingredients, it is not safe for use on the reefs.