BREAKING NEWS : Allen County coroner identifies cyclist killed after being hit by car on Lima Road Full Story
BREAKING NEWS : Allen County coroner identifies downtown Washington Boulevard crash victim Full Story
BREAKING NEWS : Allen County coroner identifies Hawthorn Suites shooting victim Full Story

Key West bans certain sunscreens to protect coral reef

Key West, Florida; Hawaii, and the nation of Palau are banning certain ingredients in sunscreen to protect coral reefs.

Posted: Feb 9, 2019 9:30 AM
Updated: Feb 9, 2019 9:30 AM

Key West, Florida, has voted to ban certain sunscreens in an effort to protect coral reefs in its surrounding waters.

The city joins a growing list of places that have banned sunscreens containing the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. The Pacific nation of Palau and the state of Hawaii both passed similar bans last year.

The two particular sunscreen ingredients are FDA-approved and help protect skin against damage from ultraviolet rays. So far, there's been no conclusive evidence to suggest the chemicals pose risks to humans.

There is a growing body of evidence, however, that suggests those sunscreen ingredients cause coral bleaching and other toxic effects to marine ecosystems when sunscreens worn by beachgoers wash off in the shower or in the water.

"To me, it boils right down to the fact that there are thousands of sunscreens out there and we have one reef," Mayor Teri Johnston said at a city commission meeting on Tuesday night. "And we have an opportunity to do one small thing to protect that. I believe it's our obligation."

Key West's ban will take effect on January 1, 2021, the same day Hawaii's ban is set to kick in. Both bans affect many popular sunscreen brands, including La Roche-Posay Face & Body Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk, Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 and Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch sunscreens.

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.

The motion passed 6-1 in a Key West city commission meeting to rousing applause and cheers. The discussion on the proposed ban lasted more than two hours, with many Key West residents and activists from the environmental nonprofit organization Reef Relief giving speeches in support of the ban.

But not everyone was on board.

Officials from the sunscreen manufacturing industry voiced their opposition, citing public health concerns. They also disputed the extent to which chemicals in sunscreens are thought to affect coral reefs.

In a letter to the city commission before the meeting, Carlos Gutierrez, vice president of state and local government affairs for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, cited an article that said the evidence that sunscreens cause coral bleaching is inconclusive.

"For CHPA, this issue is about public health," the statement read. "The stakes are far too high to rush into this product ban, especially when there are no proven benefits to coral reef if you go forward with the ban."

Lezlee Westine, the president and CEO of the Personal Care Products Council, voiced similar opposition in a letter to the commission.

"Ordinance File #18-3253, although well intended, lacks the necessary scientific evidence to demonstrate that these sunscreen ingredients are responsible for coral bleaching," the letter from the council read. "We fear this legislation will create confusion, put consumers' health at risk and potentially discourage the use of sunscreens -- an important part of a safe sun regimen."

The coral reefs are vital to Key West. The Florida Reef Tract is a major part of the state's fishing and tourism industries. The reef system is home to more than 6,000 species of plants, fish and aquatic life, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that species supported by reefs are key to finding new medicines. Reefs also prevent erosion on shorelines that could cause property damage or deaths.

Johnston said at the meeting that 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."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 595436

Reported Deaths: 9466
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion822851311
Lake44626670
Allen32165543
Hamilton28684308
St. Joseph26917378
Elkhart24173343
Vanderburgh18856236
Tippecanoe17638125
Johnson14687289
Porter14513163
Hendricks14010242
Madison10715216
Vigo10540177
Clark10349135
Monroe9189108
Delaware8956134
LaPorte8867158
Howard7982140
Kosciusko791380
Warrick652994
Hancock646999
Bartholomew631096
Floyd6205107
Wayne5984159
Grant5874110
Dubois547175
Boone538867
Morgan524192
Henry497764
Marshall495384
Cass475362
Dearborn464545
Noble463157
Jackson417846
Shelby405680
Lawrence383876
Clinton367840
Gibson360058
DeKalb339163
Montgomery338152
Harrison333643
Knox329839
Miami312743
Steuben309343
Adams297435
Whitley297225
Wabash294947
Ripley294345
Putnam288047
Jasper285234
Huntington284959
White269138
Daviess263073
Jefferson253838
Decatur243482
Fayette242948
Greene237062
Posey234427
Wells231347
LaGrange225061
Clay219032
Scott218538
Randolph209845
Jennings193935
Sullivan189632
Spencer184319
Fountain180527
Washington179321
Starke172743
Jay163922
Fulton161130
Owen161137
Carroll153915
Orange152933
Rush151618
Perry149327
Vermillion145833
Franklin144433
Tipton129232
Parke12918
Pike114326
Blackford109222
Pulaski95337
Newton89821
Brown85931
Benton85310
Crawford7719
Martin70713
Warren6637
Switzerland6235
Union6146
Ohio4727
Unassigned0374

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 836049

Reported Deaths: 10323
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin98533705
Cuyahoga831801065
Hamilton61931441
Montgomery42028399
Summit33849736
Lucas30524605
Butler30003228
Stark25093419
Warren19083140
Lorain18418212
Mahoning16931337
Lake15592136
Clermont15335105
Delaware1403077
Licking12819132
Trumbull12515307
Fairfield1232480
Greene11729135
Medina11286165
Clark10672264
Wood10081156
Allen9639126
Portage9006107
Miami895273
Richland8910116
Marion7377113
Tuscarawas7177174
Columbiana7164124
Pickaway710350
Wayne6855165
Muskingum678241
Erie5976118
Hancock542990
Ross535287
Scioto527063
Geauga491755
Darke459489
Ashtabula443172
Lawrence439353
Union437028
Sandusky427462
Mercer427387
Seneca417357
Auglaize416259
Huron416138
Shelby413521
Jefferson409066
Belmont403740
Washington375940
Putnam367872
Athens36759
Madison343429
Knox340122
Ashland336838
Fulton328543
Defiance322578
Crawford316371
Preble313836
Brown298819
Logan296529
Ottawa283934
Clinton281243
Williams272866
Highland266018
Jackson259043
Guernsey245325
Champaign244427
Fayette229729
Morrow22574
Perry223318
Holmes220362
Henry213547
Hardin206433
Coshocton199620
Van Wert198744
Wyandot192549
Gallia192126
Adams167415
Pike167417
Hocking165523
Carroll151316
Paulding141121
Noble118740
Meigs105021
Monroe97229
Harrison8598
Morgan79728
Vinton67613
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 15°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 15°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 20°
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 15°
Lima
Partly Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 20°
Sunshine, Warmer Thursday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events