In this May 2016 photo released by The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey, an underwater photographer documents an expanse of dead coral at Lizard Island on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Coral reefs, unique underwater ecosystems that sustain a quarter of the world’s marine species and half a billion people, are dying on an unprecedented scale. Scientists are racing to prevent a complete wipeout within decades. (The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey via AP)

Florida city moves to ban sunscreens that could damage reefs

Last year, Hawaii banned the sale or distribution of sunscreens containing the ingredients beginning in 2021

Officials in Key West took the initial steps toward banning the sale of sunscreens containing two ingredients that could be harmful to coral reefs.

The Miami Herald reports the Key West City Commission approved the measure 7-0 on Tuesday night. Commissioners now must review the ordinance a second time and pass it again on Feb. 5 before it can become law. It would ban products containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. Some studies have shown that the chemicals encourage coral bleaching.

Nearly 100 people turned out for the discussion, with 50 signing up to speak. They included dermatologists, boat captains and school children.

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Commissioner Jimmy Weekley said people could still get a prescription for the sunscreens.

Last year, Hawaii banned the sale or distribution of sunscreens containing the ingredients beginning in 2021.

The Associated Press

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