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Reef Safe - It's more than just words


"Reef Safe - What does it really mean?"

reef safe is a distinction used in the saltwater aquarium hobby to indicate that a fish or invertebrate is safe to add to a reef aquarium. Every fish that is commonly listed as reef safe are species that usually do not readily consume small fish or invertebrates. The reef safe term would also apply to aquarium decorations or to silicones or other materials used to repair a salt water aquarium. The designation means that the products would not damage or kill corals or invertebrates.

How did reef safe come to be used to describe sunscreens ?

In 1995 Dan Knorr, an avid salt water aquarist who also owns a sunscreen manufacturing company, Tropical Seas, Inc in Daytona Beach Florida was on vacation in Key West in the Florida Keys for diving and snorkeling with family & friends when he noticed what he calls the “Valdez Effect” coming off them in the water. He could not believe the amount of oil slick that contaminated the waters around them. His first thought was, “This is really bad for our ocean and its inhabitants and I can help do something about it.”

Dan decided that after all the ocean is really just one gigantic aquarium so he adapted the reef safe term and named his product creations Reef Safe Sun®.

After vacation, he immediately started sourcing eco-friendly raw materials to formulate a reef safe sunscreen. To his surprise, the industry had no clue as to what was happening in our ocean, much less believed in nor cared about his observations.

Dan's efforts were  at the forefront of the “green” phase" in sunscreens and now in 2018, over a decade, the term reef safe has been "borrowed" by companies around the world.

Dan pioneered and persevered by working in the laboratory to create the Original Reef Safe Sun® sunscreen product line. He then had the formulas tested by independent ecology laboratories, including the World Renowned Mote Marine Laboratory.

“All sunscreens are not alike, and to single out one compound in the ingredients and make a blanket ruling is not proper. We found ReefSafe products caused no visual signs of stress, bleaching or mortality for two key species of  Florida corals through our 20-day, independent test -Dr. David Vaughan is the Executive Director of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration on Summerland Key, Florida. He is also the manager of Mote’s Coral Reef Restoration Program and the Protect Our Reef Grants program.

While others have simply slapped the term reef safe on their marketing campaigns without any testing at independent ecology laboratories, Reef Safe Sun has remained true to the original commitment to honestly be reef safe.

When searching for a truly reef safe sunscreen, make sure you ask for the Original Reef Safe Sun®.

About Reef Safe Sun®
Reef Safe Sun®, was introduced in 1996 by Tropical Seas, Inc. of Ormond Beach, FL, as a sunscreen scientifically proven to biodegrade in oceans, lakes and rivers; thus protecting fragile ecosystems while protecting skin. Reef Safe  formulas were subjected to a comprehensive series of independent laboratory tests to support and authenticate safe for coral, non-toxic to sea life as well as the biodegradability of the lotions. Research found that Reef Safe products biodegrade, on average, in less than 90 days in seawater and freshwater. No evidence of toxicity to microorganisms or other sea life was detected. Research also found that Reef Safe's water resistant formula allows less than three percent of the product to come off after 80 minutes of activity in water. At Reef Safe it's not just about the ingredients, it's about how those ingredients are formulated and processed.