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Recycling Sharks Choose Reef-Safe Sunscreen

Recycling Sharks comic art
Artwork by Sade Storthz

Recycling Sharks

Authors: Comic created by Sade Storthz and article written by Heather Nicole King

Episode 7: The “Recycling Sharks” encounter another form of ocean pollution found within sunscreen. Many common skincare products contain chemicals that harm coral reefs and sea creatures ranging in size from algae to dolphins. Find out what to look for on sunscreen labels and additional SPF options to help keep these marine besties and their environment safe.

recycle shark comic strip

Reggie, Rebecca and Reef discover through their interaction with a nearby scuba diver that sunscreen can pose a threat. When we go for a swim after applying certain sunscreen, the chemicals wash off our skin and mix with the water, which is dangerous to coral and other sea creatures. UV filters that protect against the sun include several chemicals toxic to marine life and can contribute to coral bleaching.

Aquatic animals can not control which chemicals enter their waterways. It’s up to us to be more conscious about how we protect our skin and the ocean. As the “Recycling Sharks” suggest, reef-safe sunscreen is the best option. Remember before you swim, check the label for which chemicals to avoid and choose reef-safe sunscreen with Zinc oxide or Titanium dioxide to protect our underwater friends.

Additional Educational Resources
Watch this PBS LearningMedia video by Above the Noise for more information on navigating which chemicals to avoid when considering - Is Your Sunscreen Hurting Coral Reefs?

Discover more about Coral Reef Rescue through this PBS LearningMedia video from SchoolYard Films. Follow Mote Tropical Research Lab and the Coral Restoration Foundation on how volunteers are helping repair coral reefs. Dive deeper into the world of coral and ways you can contribute to healthier underwater ecosystems.

Shark Saver Spotlight
If you love sharks like we do, share your drawings, comics, paintings and costumes of sharks, dolphins, and other sea creatures with us. For a chance to be featured on VPM Science Matter’s Facebook Page as a shoutout in the Shark Saver Spotlight, email your drawings to: [email protected]. Open to all ages.