The state of Hawaii was the first to ban sunscreens, oxybenzone and octinoxate, and the environmental movement is heading East.

Key West City Commission voted last week 7-0 to pass an ordinance for the ban.

The following story was reported in the Miami Herald:

In Florida, the Key West City Commission voted last week to ban the sale of sunscreens that contain two ingredients — oxybenzone and octinoxate — that a growing body of scientific evidence says harm coral reefs.

“This ordinance is just one other thing we can do to help improve and protect our water quality,” said Mill McCleary, of the nonprofit environmental protection group Reef Relief.

But the measure, which passed 7 to 0, isn’t law yet. The commission must review it a second time and pass the measure again before it would become law. The second vote is scheduled for Feb. 5.

 “They have alternatives to these two chemicals,” said City Commissioner Jimmy Weekley, who sponsored the measure with Hoover. “This is to me something we need to do in this community to protect our economy. What if we don’t pass this and three to five years down the road we have no reef?”

Environmental researchers have published studies showing how these two ingredients, which accumulate in the water from bathers or from wastewater discharges, can harm coral reefs through bleaching, DNA damage and ultimately cause the death of corals.

A February 2016 study in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, which examined the impact of oxybenzone in corals in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands, concluded the sunscreen ingredient “poses a hazard to coral reef conservation and threatens the resiliency of coral reefs to climate change.”

Experts who have studied the issue say sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide also block ultraviolet rays by creating a barrier on the skin.

A study published last year in the American Academy of Dermatology acknowledged there is “emerging evidence that chemical sunscreen ingredients” could affect coral reefs, but said further study is warranted. Dermatologists are concerned that a ban of these ingredients could have an impact on skin cancer rates.

This is great news and we hope other beach communities (and even better states) take similar action. 

Beware! Some sunscreens companies are calling their blends “reef safe” but a quick perusal of the ingredient lists shows they are anything but.  The active ingredient(s) on a truly reef safe product should be only Titanium and/or Zinc.   And, the base is as important as well.  Sunscreens are the main culprits to the demise of the coral reef, but harsh preservatives and emulsifiers are also problematic.

We welcome all sunscreens that really eliminate all harsh chemicals even though you are 27 years late to the party!  Absolutely Natural has offered reef safe products for more than 27 years.

We are the most trusted brand and are proud of our commitments and accomplishments.

Best regards,