A chemical in sunscreen may be contributing to the destruction of the coral reefs as swimmers trying to protect their skin venture near reefs, according to new research.
Researchers behind the study, published in the journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, found that the chemical oxybenzone has toxic effects on young coral that causes endocrine disruption, DNA damage and death of coral, among other the problems. Oxybenzone also exacerbates coral bleaching, a process by which coral reject symbiotic organisms and lose their color. Bleaching has been particularly prevalent in recent years due to rising sea temperatures.
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