The ban on the sale and possession of certain types of sunscreens will take effect in the U.S. Virgin Islands on March 30.

These sunscreens contain ingredients such as oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene, which are said to threaten the health of coral reefs when they wash off swimmers' bodies and cause coral bleaching.

 Retailers have been prohibited from ordering new inventory of sunscreens that contained these ingredients since last July.

The ban is the earliest such implementation of this product in the U.S. A list of permitted sunscreens, which includes those using zinc oxide and mineral sunscreen, is at www.islandgreenliving.org, a nonprofit organization on St. John dedicated to sustainability throughout the USVI.

Harith Wickrema, president of Island Green Living Association, said that tourism marketing in the territory must include visitor education regarding the use of safe sunscreens.

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