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Biodegradable Sunscreens Draw Raves Across Caribbean

Beach Buff® Reef Safe product line spares environment while protecting skin

ORMOND BEACH, FL (November 10, 2009): Retailers, dive shops, resorts, cruise lines and consumers across the Caribbean are rapidly embracing a new line of biodegradable sunscreens that won’t harm reefs or oceans but still offer protection from harmful ultraviolet rays.
 
Developed by Ormond Beach, Fla.-based Tropical Seas, Inc., Beach Buff® “Reef Safe” sunscreens address well-documented concerns about the damage done to coral reefs and marine life by the 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of toxic sunscreens estimated to wash off swimmers into the oceans every year. By some estimates, this has led to sunscreen-induced bleaching of up to 10 percent of the world’s coral reefs.
 
“As a diver myself, I’ve seen first-hand the damage we humans have caused to our precious reefs,” said Dan Knorr, CEO and president of Tropical Seas (www.tropicalseas.com). “That’s why we invested so much time, money and manpower into developing an environmentally sustainable sunscreen that we could be proud of. We knew that once we created it, the market would respond favorably. We just didn’t realize how quickly and enthusiastically they would respond!”
 
After the company’s recent sales blitz across the Caribbean, Knorr reports that reactions have been so positive that production will need to be increased to handle the demand.
 
Dive and snorkel operators expressed excitement, and relief, that they finally had a sunscreen to offer their customers and employees that wouldn’t damage the reefs and oceans that sustain their economy. Some operators in Bonaire even hope to convince the government to allow no other sunscreens on the island aside from the Beach Buff line.
 
At Dolphin Discovery on Grand Cayman, visitors will once again be allowed to wear sunscreen when swimming with the dolphins, as long as they are using Reef Safe products.
 
The enthusiasm for the Beach Buff line extends far beyond the Caribbean, as well, to other tourist destinations along the U.S. coasts and even to Hawaii.
 
“We’re absolutely thrilled to finally have biodegradable sunscreens,” said Brooke Porter, Conservation Director of the Pacific Whale Foundation, an eco-tour and educational non-profit organization based in Hawaii. “We are exclusively carrying the Beach Buff Reef Safe line in our stores, and offer free applications to our guests on all of our snorkel cruises, and we’re urging all our customers to keep using these products when they return home.”

The Beach Buff Reef Safe sunscreens were subjected to a comprehensive series of independent laboratory tests to support and authenticate the biodegradability of the lotions. The research found that 99 percent of the material biodegraded in seawater within 60-80 days, while no evidence of toxicity to micro-organisms and other sea life was detected.
 
A subsequent round of testing, using the OECD 301D method, found nearly identical results in river and lake water. That’s important because people also use sunscreens in lakes, rivers, pools, and even around their lawns. Eventually, all of that water finds its way into the oceans. In fact, more than 40 percent of the continental United States drains into the Gulf of Mexico, this then trickles down to Mexico, the Florida Keys and other endangered habitats.
 
Reef Safe is the first scientifically substantiated biodegradeable suncare . No other sunscreen currently on the market can substantiate either the “freshwater safe” or “reef safe” claim.
 
Tropical Seas’ research also found that Beach Buff’s waterproof formula allows less than three percent of the product to come off in the ocean, which compares favorably to mass market brands that lose up to 29 percent of the product immediately upon entering the water.
 
“That means our “Reef Safe” lotions not only biodegrade quickly, but very little gets into the oceans to begin with,” said Knorr. “These sunscreens are in keeping with our corporate commitment to environmental responsibility. We’re proud to do our part in making the oceans cleaner while we keep our customers safe from the dangerous effects of the sun.”
 
The American Lifeguard Association, which represents more than 10,000 active lifeguards across North America, recently granted its official endorsement to the reef safe product line.
 
“We are extremely impressed by the Beach Buff sunscreens, both for their top-notch skin protection and for their environmental sustainability,” said B.J. Fisher, Director of Health & Safety for the ALA. “We encourage all of our lifeguards, as well as the general public, to use these sunscreens whenever they plan to swim in the oceans.”

Reef Safe SunCare by Beach Buff sunscreens are available in resort locations across the U.S. Sunbelt, Hawaii and throughout the Caribbean islands, and online.

About Reef Safe SunCare

ReefSafe™ SunCare by Beach Buff®, manufactured and distributed by Ormond Beach, Fla. based Tropical Seas, Inc., addresses well-documented concerns about the damage done to reefs and marine life by the 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of toxic sunscreens estimated to wash off swimmers into the oceans every year. Reef Safe sunscreens were subjected to a comprehensive series of independent laboratory tests to support and authenticate the biodegradability of the lotions. The research found that Reef Safe SunCare products biodegrade, on average, less than 90 days in seawater and freshwater. No evidence of toxicity to microorganisms and other sea life was detected. Research also found that Reef Safe’s waterproof formula allows less than three percent of the product to come off in water, which compares favorably to the estimated 25 percent of mass-market brand lotions that come off in water.


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Media Contact

Laurie D. Fontenot
229-834-4140
laurie@lacadian.com