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Sunscreens damage coral reefs

SUNscreen lotions used by beach-going tourists worldwide are a major cause of coral bleaching, according to a new study commissioned by the European Commission.
In experiments, the cream-based ultra-violet (UV) filters - used to protect skin from the harmful effects of sun exposure - caused bleaching of coral reefs even in small quantities, the study found.
Coral reefs are among the most biologically productive and diverse of ecosystems, and directly sustain half a billion people. But some 60 per cent of these reef systems are threatened by a deadly combination of climate change, industrial pollution and excess UV radiation.

The new study, published in US journal Environmental Health Perspectives, has now added sunscreens to the list of damaging agents, and estimates that up to 10 per cent of the world's reefs are at risk of sunscreen-induced coral bleaching.

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