Help Protect Kahalu’u Bay From Chemical Sunscreen

kahaluu Bay

I have been recommending Kahalu’u Bay as THE place to learn how to snorkel and to see a plethora of tropical fish for all age groups for years. This is why, I feel it is my responsibility to help in the efforts to heal and protect the bay. I am working with the Kohala Center to engage, educate and empower the public to help ALL of the bays in West Hawaii by working to help people to THINK ZINC or use protective clothing.

I helped create the information below to share with local business owners. Please feel free to share!! Our job is to educate consumers to CHECK INGREDIENTS and make smart choices.

Please Help Protect Kahalu‘u Bay

Kahalu‘u Bay, a small, 4.2-acre county park, attracts more that 400,000 visitors a year to enjoy its calm, clear waters and vibrant, colorful reef ecosystem. Like many coral reefs in Hawai‘i, this special place is facing many threats. Research confirms that chemicals found in most sunscreens, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, are contributing to coral decline. These chemicals affect coral growth and reproduction, and also harm fish and other marine life.


  • Five water samples taken from different areas in Kahalu‘u Bay revealedoxybenzone levels averaging 262 times greater than the Environmental Protection Agency’s guidelines for a high-risk situation for marine life, according to the Program Manager of the NOAA Coral and Disease Program. If we do not take any corrective steps to improve water quality, coral in Kahalu‘u Bay will continue to die and will not recover.
  • The Hawai‘i Coral Reef Initiative Research Program reports that Hawaiʻi’s nearshore reefs generate about $800 million annually in gross revenue (or $364 million in added value).

    The need to reduce the level of sunscreen chemicals in the bay has never been more urgent!

    Please kōkua…. You can help us heal Kahaluʻu Bay:

    1. Purchase products for resale that are reef-friendly and mineral-based, with active ingredients non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
    2. Avoid purchasing chemical sunscreens with octocrylene, oxybenzone, octinoxate, and nanoparticles.
    3. Actively promote reef-friendly products in your business.
    4. Promote protective clothing such as hats, sunwear shirts, long-sleeve rash guards, wraps, and board shorts.

Together, we can PROTECT and HEAL Kahaluʻu Bay — for our residents, our visitors, our children, and future generations to continue to enjoy. Can we count on you?

For more information, educational materials, and to support our efforts to heal Kahalu‘u Bay, please contact Cindi Punihaole at [email protected].

Looking for ideas for which sunscreens are safe? Check out this link on the Kohala Center website. 

My cousin wearing a rash guard with his children, also wearing rash guards.

  You can also VOLUNTEER! 

Thank you to all who have said, “I did not know there was an issue and now that I do, I will do what is right.” MAHALO.

Spread the word if you love what you heard! #365kona so we can say Thanks!

Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at and and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

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