Most Sunscreens Can Harm Coral Reefs. What Should Travelers Do?
February 19, 2018

Is your Sunscreen poisoning the Ocean?

One of the perks of being a Californian is that Hawaii is a quick, often affordable getaway: Without the need to escape frosty weather, we’re free to visit during summer, when the surf lays down flat and the price of hotel rooms plummets.

So for three decades, I’ve returned, year after year, to Big Island, swimming at the same bare-bones beach, which locals identify only by the number on a nearby highway mile marker. I measure my life by those trips, as surely as watermarks measure the tide. In my 20s, obsessing over career moves and noncommittal men, I escaped there with a girlfriend. Later I honeymooned there with my husband. These days we travel with our teenager, who swims confidently away from us, out to sea.

Illustration by Maggie Chiang

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