Hawaii Bills Relating To Preserving Coral Reefs – SB1150 & HB450

Here is a summary of the House (HB450) & Senate (SB1150) bills.

SENATE: Prohibits the use or application of sunscreen or cosmetics containing oxybenzone and other chemicals harmful to the coral reefs within a nature preserve or marine life conservation district unless it is a prescription. Requires all commercial operators who visit these areas to inform their guests about the dangers to the reef caused by these chemicals. This bill also requires certain counties to ban the sale of these chemical sunscreens who control public access to those preserves and districts. It finally allows the DLNR to propose rules prohibiting the use of these chemicals as needed. This act will not take effect until Jan 7, 2059. (Senate Bill 1150 S.D.2)

HOUSE: Requires University of Hawaii to conduct a study on the effects of sunscreen on Hawaii’s coral reefs and report to the Legislature. The University will submit a preliminary report to the legislature prior to 2018 regular session. The report may include proposed legislation. The act will take effect on July 1st. It appropriates funds for the study. (House Bill 450 S.D.1))

Current Status

The Senate and House versions are quite a bit different. Reconciliation will now occur with representatives McKelvey, DeCoite Matsumoto, C. Lee, Ing, Takumi, Tupola.


The legislature finds that oxybenzone is a threat which is particularly acute in Hawaiian waters where coral bleaching is occurring at a historic rate.

They also find that there are many reasonable alternatives available on the market.

This bill is in-line with Aloha Honua – Climate Change and Energy.  This focus seeks to protect and preserve Hawaii’s natural resources.


To protect the reefs the legislature proposes to: 

  1. Prohibit the use of sunscreens and cosmetics containing oxybenzone.
  2. Require all commercial use permittees operating to inform guests that oxybenzone is harmful and can not be used in Marine life conservation districts.
  3. Requiring certain counties to prohibit the commercial sale of oxybenzone and other chemicals deemed harmful to coral reefs.
  4. Require the DLNR to propose rules prohibiting the use of these chemicals in any area needed to conserve state marine resources.


  1. Prohibit counties that issue scuba or snorkeling permits or control public access to nature preserves or marine life conservation districts from selling reef harming chemical cosmetics or sunscreen.
  2. Referring to Oxybenzone also means to include benzophenone-3, 2-hydroxy-4-methoxphenyl pehenylmethanone and other chemicals deemed harmful to the reef.
  3. No person shall use or apply sunscreen containing the prohibited chemicals unless it has been medically prescribed.

Please help us raise funds to build greater awareness around this topic and continue to put pressure on decision makers to make the obvious choice and stop polluting our reefs with this chemical.

Learn more about the bill now.