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Hawaii's state legislature has passed a bill that bans sunscreens containing chemicals that can reportedly damage coral reefs – a new regulation that could impact sales of branded sunscreen.

Senate Bill 2571, passed on Tuesday, prevents the sale and distribution of sunscreen that has oxybenzone and octinoxate, unless prescribed by a licensed healthcare provider. If Governor David Ige signs the legislation into law, the prohibition would take effect Jan. 1, 2021.

Should the ban become law, promo distributors and suppliers could no longer provide sunscreen containing the blacklisted chemicals in the Aloha State. What's more, the Hawaiian ban could resonate to the U.S. mainland, possibly influencing some would-be buyers of branded sunscreen to seek natural options that are perceived as better for the environment – or to avoid purchasing sunscreen altogether in fear their brand will be perceived as a polluter.

Found in popular sunscreen brands like Coppertone and Hawaiian Tropic, oxybenzone and octinoxate contribute to coral bleaching, studies show. For example, a recent study from the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology found that chemicals in sunscreen kill coral and result in DNA damage in larval and adult stage coral. The impact on DNA limits coral's ability to grow and develop healthily. Coral bleaching was reportedly a cause behind widespread destruction of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. According to researchers, about 14,000 tons of sunscreen glop onto coral reefs annually. Sunscreen concentrations were found to be among the highest in the world on the beaches of Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Certain environmental organizations praised legislators for passing the bill.

"Hawaii's reefs have been slowly dying over the past 20 years, and that death spiral has been accelerating with the impact of El Niño-induced mass bleaching events and increased local pollution impacts from both tourism and development," Craig Downs, the executive director of the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, told The New York Times. "Everyone has come together to support this legislation, from local nurses and doctors, to resorts and airlines, as well as the entrepreneurial spirit of new sunscreen companies to supply reef-safer products."

Of course, the ban had opponents, too. Traditional sunscreen manufacturers pointed out that the chemicals are FDA-approved and important ingredients for protecting people from skin cancer. Ban opponents also included the Hawaii Medical Association. The association expressed worry that the prohibition could encourage people to reduce the degree to which they wear sunscreen – a concern given the heightened risk for skin cancer that comes with not using sunscreen.

Forbes reports that mounting public pushback against sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate has opened the door for a niche market focused on natural sunscreens made in Hawaii. "Tourists and locals on the islands can find Kōkua Sun Care Hawaiian Natural Zinc Sunscreen, Mama Kuleana Reef, and the mainland All Good products," wrote Geologist Trevor Nace for Forbes. Of course, chemicals found in sunscreens are far from the only pollutant causing problems for coral reefs. Ocean warming, agricultural runoff and sewage dumping also are weakening and killing reefs, research shows.

Gifting clients and employees around the holidays isn't just a nice way to spread some cheer – it's a smart business tactic, according to a recent study by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI). About three-quarters of U.S. companies give holiday gifts to employees and clients, spending an average of $64 per employee and $38 per client, the study reports.

Why the generosity? Nearly 70% of the respondents said that business gifts are an important tool in developing relationships with clients and prospects. With that in mind, here are five corporate gift-giving tips to help you prep for the upcoming holiday season.

Start Early.
According to the study, 68% of businesspeople give gifts branded with the company's logo on them. But personalization takes time. Experts recommend clients start talking to their promotional products distributors about holiday gifts in August and September, and "place all of their orders by early fall," says promotional expert Marcia Gasca. "That way, there's plenty of time to be creative with personalization and packaging."

Be On-Trend.
Useful items that take up real estate on a recipient's desk or wall (think logoed pen sets and calendars) are always popular, but electronics remain the hot ticket on everyone's list, says Gasca. Think branded power banks, tablet covers and logoed microfiber screen cleaners. One hot item for this year: a portable charger leash, which has an alarm in it that sounds when you remove your device from it (great for globetrotters who are constantly leaving their travel chargers behind in hotel rooms). Other fun ideas include smart watches, apparel that monitors your heart rate and fitness-tracking wristbands. 

Think Beyond the Gift Card. 
While gift cards remain one of the most popular gifts for employees, get creative and present the card with something the recipient will hold onto much longer, suggests Gasca. For instance, put the card inside of a branded tumbler mug or water bottle, or zip it into the pocket of an embroidered fleece jacket. Another idea: Place the card inside a branded picture frame that will sit on the recipient's desk after the card is used.

Wrap It Up.
Forget plain holiday wrap for your gifts. Use packaging as another branding opportunity. As an example, you might roll up an imprinted T-shirt and slip on a logoed band that recipients can later use as a trendy accessory. Create gift tags as well. For instance, instead of a traditional paper gift tag, handwrite your recipients' names on a paper luggage tag insert; they can enjoy the branded luggage tag long after the gift is opened. Also, ask your promotional products distributor about customized gift wrap that will further showcase your company's branding.

Consider Cards.
Don't have the budget to send a gift to every client or prospect? Customized gift cards with personalized, handwritten notes are a nice touch. A growing trend is to send a "thanks for your business" in late November (just before Thanksgiving) so that your card can be the first holiday card to arrive in a recipient's mailbox. Sending cards early is "a great and affordable way to stand out from the pack," Gasca says. 

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