In a landslide 6-1 vote, the Key West City Commission has passed a local ordinance banning the sale of certain sunscreens.
The decision is to protect the local coral reefs and prohibits the sale of any sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and/or octinoxate. The new city ordinance will come into effect on January 1st, 2021.
Various studies have found that both chemicals have a profound negative effect on the health of local coral, not only causing the corals marine organisms to die off, but also causing damage to them at the genetic level. According to Key West Mayor Teri Johnston:
“To me, it boils right down to the fact that there are thousands of sunscreens out there and we have one reef, and we have an opportunity to do one small thing to protect that. I believe it’s our obligation.”
Discussing the new ordinance, Key West Commissioner Jim Weekley stated:
“Hopefully, other communities in the state of Florida will pick up on this as well and start their process.”