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Sunscreen is ‘killing coral’
The sudden death of coral reefs around the world may be due to chemicals in sunscreen, a new study has revealed.
The bleaching and subsequent demise of coral reefs was thought until recently to be caused by some unexplained effect of global warming. But a study by the Marche Polytechnic University, in Italy, has found that ingredients commonly used in sunscreen can awaken dormant viruses in the algae that live inside reef-building coral species.
The study revealed that four chemicals (benzophenone, a paraben preservative, cinnamate and a camphor derivative) used as preservatives and as UV filters in sunscreens “caused the rapid and complete bleaching of hard corals, even at extremely low concentrations”.