Answer to Jeffy’s question in comic is probably ‘yes’

“Won’t this pollute the ocean if I go in?” Jeffy asks as his mom slathers him with sunscreen in “Family Circus” (Comics, July 30). The answer is probably yes, especially if she is using a non-reef-safe product laced with oxybenzone and other unpronounceable chemical compounds.

By all means, let’s avoid polluting the ocean!

But there are other safety issues that hit even closer to home. According to recent coverage in the New York Times, the body is known to absorb harmful sunscreen ingredients through the skin (“When You Wear Sunscreen, You’re Taking Part in a Safety Study,” New York Times, July 23). No adequate studies have yet been conducted to determine how severely they might affect our health.

That said, the dangers of sun exposure are very well known, and UV protection against skin cancers is a must. The really reef-friendly solution is to cover up on the beach. My kit for snorkeling includes a rash guard, leggings and a hood that covers the back of my neck. For the exposed part of my face — from cheekbones to jawline — I use reef-friendly, non-nano clear zinc sunscreen. So far, this seems to be working, and my other people, who look me over twice a year, have been very happy.

From what I see on the beach, others are gradually adapting the cover-up strategy too. Hey, everybody! Join us, for the sake of the aina and for your own sake too.

Matthew Gurewitsch