HELP CONSERVE THE ECOSYSTEM
- USE ONLY BIODEGRADABLE SUNTAN LOTION AND SUNSCREENS
One of the easiest ways for you to help protect
the natural ecosystem of Mazatlan this vacation
is to use only biodegradable sunscreen and eco-friendly
insect repellent. Regular sunscreens like
Coppertone, Banana Boat and the other main brands
contain harmful oils and chemicals that damage coral
reefs and marine plants and animals. Every
year between 8 million and 12 million pounds of
sunscreen washes off of swimmers and goes into our
water, and smothers our coral reefs, clouds up the
water, and is ingested by our local fish and marine
life. By using only biodegradable eco-friendly
sunblock and sunscreen, you can help to conserve
this fragile ecosystem for years to come.
FAQ'S ABOUT BIODEGRADABLE
Q: Is it allowed to use regular sunscreens in
A: While only biodegradable sunscreen is
permitted in many locations in Mexico, such as Cozumel's
marine park, Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Garrafon, and Chankanaab
Park, other areas of Mexico do not yet have these
regulations, though more are joining rapidly.
Although it is allowed to use your regular sunscreen
in Mazatlan, we strongly encourage you to consider
using eco-friendly sunblock and help to preserve
the marine environment.
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.
We strongly encourage using only biodegradable sunscreen
anytime you are going to be in the water.
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
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: I've never heard of this
before. Are you making this stuff up?
A: See the links below for the latest information.
NPR:Chemicals in Sunscreen harm Reefs
National Parks Service:Protect Yourself & Protect the Reef
Sierra Club:Sunscreen Destroying Coral Reefs
Ocean Conservancy:Sunscreen Killing Coral Reefs
NOAA:Skincare Chemicals and Coral Reefs
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. 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: Where can I buy
A: You can sometimes find these products
at your local health food store, and at select locations
in Mazatlan, though nearly all biodegradable suntan
lotion is still purchased over the internet.
We've provided some links in the left column to
some of the major brands for your convenience.