We're Banning Sunscreen: The Pacific Island Nation Confiscating Tourists' Sunscreen

Palau is to become the first country to ban toxic sunscreen to protect its reefs after study finds chemicals tainted famous lake.

It's a nation made up of more than 500 islands east of the Philippines, home to incredible coral reefs and the famed jellyfish lake - not as scary as it sounds - and to protect its natural wonders Palau has decided to ban most sunscreens.

President Tommy Remengesau Jr signed off on a bill to outlaw so called "reef-toxic" products from 2020.

Snorkeling, Palau. Photo: Getty.

"All around the world, millions of people have come to know Palau as we do - to recognise our home for its unique and ancient culture, and for its pristine natural environment," the President told Parliament.

Adding politicians have a responsibility to protect Palau's environment and set a global standard.

"We must... educate international visitors about how Palau has lasted in this uniquely untouched nature state for some long, and about about how we can keep it this way." he said.

Sunscreens that contain 10 chemicals including; oxybenzone (BP3) octylmethoxycinnamate (EHMC), octocrylene (OC) plus a raft of other parabens, are on the banned list and will be confiscated at the airport.

The government made the decision after a report found their most popular tourist destination, Jellyfish Lake, was tainted with sunscreen chemicals. The lake had to be shut for more than a year due to dwindling jellyfish numbers but has recently reopened.

Jellyfish Lake, Palau. Photo: Getty.

Don't worry, if you're packing a bag for Palau, there's no need to risk sunburn. Look for 'natural' or 'eco' creams or natural zinc to avoid the banned chemicals.

Anyone found selling nasty sunscreens in Palau will be in trouble too, slapped with a fine of up to $1400 come January 1, 2020.

You might want to pack your KeepCup or S'well water bottle as well because plastic bottles and straws are on the way out too.

The new legislation means tour operators will be forced to provide visitors with reusable water bottles, straws and food containers.

A number of studies have been conducted on the impact of sunscreen on coral reefs including a recent investigation by the International Coral Reef Initiative. Which discovered sunscreen chemicals not just in Jellyfish lake but in high concentrations in the jellyfish themselves.

READ MORE: Study on sunscreen and coral reefs around the world