We are all now familiar with the fact that sunscreen is important in helping to protect our skin from sun damage. But what is the sunscreen we are dousing ourselves with doing to the environment?
For some years now, scientists have known that particular active chemicals in some sunscreens have a toxic effect on corals and their development.
To date, the effects of sunscreen chemicals on organisms in temperate waters such as Port Phillip Bay are still unknown. The bay may not have the number of coral species that the tropics have, but it sure has a lot of other very special marine life: 80% of species are endemic to Port Phillip Bay, meaning that you will not find them anywhere else in the world but here.
RMIT University and the EcoCentre teamed up to research effects of sunscreen on marine life in the bay between 2018 and 2020. Citizen scientists took water samples in the Bay which were analysed at the labatory at RMIT for sunscreen chemicals. The analysis was delayed due to COVID-19 and lockdowns, and we are hoping to update this page with results soon.
This project is funded by the federal Citizen Science Grant.