Key West Florida Bans Sunscreens That Harm Coral Reefs

first_img Baby Sea Turtles Found Burned, Dead on Florida BeachFlorida Frogs Find Shelter From Storm in Wind Chimes Soon, beachgoers in Key West, Florida won’t be able to buy some of the most popular sunscreens in the market. The city, on Tuesday, voted to ban sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, in an effort to protect coral reefs in its surrounding waters.The ban takes effect on Jan, 1, 2021, taking a cue from Hawaii, which became the first state to pass a ban on sunscreens that are likely contribute to coral reef “bleaching” and coral death.“We have one reef, and we have to do one small thing to protect that. It’s our obligation,” said Mayor Teri Johnston at a city commission meeting held before the vote.The vote came after more than a hour of public comment on the issue. Almost all were in favor of the ban, according to the Miami Herald.So proud that Key West & @reefrelief has won the ban of sales of sunscreen w/harmful chemicals tonight at city hall!!! pic.twitter.com/yP2lpE0SiF— Ayla Croft (@AylaCroft) February 6, 2019Some dermatologists and sunscreen industry lobbyists, however, were at the vote to say banning the sale of such sunscreens would increase rates of skin cancer and likely discourage people from using any at all, the Herald reported. A scientist representing the industry said more studies were needed to decide whether the chemicals harm the coral reef.Oxybenzone and octinoxate have been used for years to protect people’s skin from UV radiation, but some research has shown that products containing these chemicals can wash away from the skin while swimming or bathing and seep into the water, causing damage to coral reefs.Up to 70 percent of sunscreens on the U.S. market contain oxybenzone, and up to 8 percent contain octinoxate, NPR reported. Sunscreens that contain these ingredients include products from Neutrogena, Coppertone, and Aveeno.According to the National Park Service, 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen enters reef areas annually, concentrating on popular tourist sites. Researchers testing the effects of sunscreen on corals explain that chemicals in sunscreen can awaken coral viruses. The coral then becomes sick and expel their life-giving algae. Without these algae, the coral “bleaches” (turns white), and often dies.First-time violations of Key West’s ban will result in a written warning. After that, violations will follow the city’s standard civil citation procedures, according to a CNN report.At the meeting Mayor Johnston said  she believes Key West’s ban will help educate people about the ingredients in the sunscreens they purchase. “After a bold statement from this commission that we ban these two ingredients, there’s not going to be one person who goes into that CVS that doesn’t flip it over and take a look at the ingredients, and then make a personal decision on how they want to handle their sunscreen protection.”Below, see images of coral bleaching and coral death around the world:View as: One Page Slides1/201. Okinawa, JapanPhoto Credit: The OceanAgency/XL Catlin Seaview SurveyCoral bleaching in Okinawa Japan, September 2016. 2. Great Barrier Reef, AustraliaPhoto Credit: The Ocean AgencyCoral bleaching in GreatBarrierReef, Australia, February 2017.3. Utila, HondurasPhoto Credit: The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview SurveyCoral bleaching in Utila, Honduras, January 2018.4. Utila, HondurasPhoto Credit: The Ocean AgencyCoral bleaching in Utila, Honduras, January 2018.5. New CaledoniaPhoto Credit: The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview SurveyCoral bleaching in New Caledonia, March 2016.6. Cairns, AustraliaPhoto Credit: The Ocean AgencyCoral bleaching in Cairns, Australia, March 20167. Okinawa, JapanPhoto Credit: The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview SurveyCoral bleaching in Okinawa, Japan, September 2016.8. Great Barrier Reef, AustraliaPhoto Credit: The Ocean AgencyCoral bleaching in Great Barrier Reef.9. Heron Island, AustraliaPhoto Credit: The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview SurveyCoral bleaching in Heron Island, Australia.10. Heron Island, AustraliaPhoto Credit: The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview SurveyCoral bleaching in Heron Island, Australia, March 2016.11. New CaledoniaPhoto Credit: The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview SurveyCoral bleaching in New Caledonia, March 2016. 12. The MaldivesPhoto Credit: The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview SurveyCoral bleaching in Maldives, May 2016.13. The MaldivesPhoto Credit: The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview SurveyCoral bleaching in Maldives, 2016.14. The MaldivesPhoto Credit: The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview SurveyCoral bleaching in the Maldives, May 2016. 15. Lizard Island, AustraliaPhoto Credit: The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview SurveyCoral bleaching in Lizard Island, Australia, March 2016.16. Kaheohe Bay, HawaiiPhoto Credit: The Ocean AgencyCoral bleaching in Kaheohe Bay, Hawaii.17. FijiPhoto Credit: The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview SurveyCora bleaching in Fiji.18. Coral Death in Lizard IslandPhoto Credit: The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview SurveyCoral death in Lizard Island, Australia, May 2016.19. Coral Death in Lizard IslandPhoto Credit: The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview SurveyCoral death in Lizard Island, Australia, May 2016.20. Coral Death in Lizard IslandPhoto Credit: The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview SurveyCoral death in Lizard Island, Australia, May 2016.More on Geek.com:Photos: Eerie Underwater Sculptures Help Reef GrowthJellyfish Robot to Monitor Delicate Ocean CreaturesScientists Discover Bizarre, New Eel-Like Creature in Florida Stay on targetlast_img

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