Key West Bans Sunscreens That Use Chemicals Found To Harm Coral Reefs

Source: The Guardian/Oliver Milman

Photo: Albert Kok/Wikimedia Commons

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Officials in Key West, the popular Florida holiday destination, have decided to ban the sale of sunscreens containing certain chemicals blamed for harming the only living coral reef found in the continental US.

They Key West city commission voted 6-1 on Tuesday to ban the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate within the island city, which is part of the Florida Keys archipelago found off the southern tip of the state.

The vote followed a public meeting where marine biologists and conservations decried harmful sunscreens, pointing to research that suggests the chemicals alter corals’ DNA and weakens their immunity to disease. The ban will start in 2021.

“We have one reef, and we have to do one small thing to protect that,” said Teri Johnston, mayor of Key West. “It’s our obligation.”

Last year, both Hawaii and the Pacific nation of Palau prohibited the sale of certain sunscreens, citing the impact on their own declining coral reefs.

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Photo: Albert Kok/Wikimedia Commons

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