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Popular sunscreens now banned in Key West to protect coral reefs

2019-02-07

Key West has banned many popular sunscreen brands. (bymuratdeniz / Getty Images)

Soon, you may not be able to use your favorite sunscreen while vacationing in Key West.

Several popular brands are now banned by the island and tourist destination off the southern tip of Florida for ingredients believed to be harmful to coral reefs.

The city voted this week to outlaw the sale of sunscreen containing the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are ingredients in most sunscreens sold in the U.S., NPR reports, including products from Neutrogena, Coppertone and Aveeno.

Up to 70% of sunscreens here contain oxybenzone, and up to 8% have octinoxate.

Studies, including a 2015 one published in the journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, have tied the chemicals to killing coral, causing DNA damage in adult coral and deforming the DNA of those in the larval stage.

The ban will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.