Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Key West Environmental Group Starts Campaign Against Some Sunscreens

Chemicals common in many sunscreens have been found to harm corals.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

It's a good idea to protect your skin with sunscreen when you're out on the water.

But protecting reefs means giving up some of the most common sunscreens that can harm corals. Studies have found that some ingredients, especially oxybenzone and octinoxate, are harmful even in very small quantities.

That's why Reef Relief, a Key West environmental group, has launched a Responsible Sunscreen campaign aimed at consumers and businesses.

"Basically that just urges people to choose sunscreens that don't have toxic chemicals in it that are bad for our ocean, bad for our corals and also bad for our body as well," said Alex Risius, Reef Relief's associate program director.

For now, the campaign is a voluntary appeal to consumers and businesses to stop using and selling sunscreens with the harmful chemicals.

"Then the next step is hopefully getting some sort of ban for specific sunscreens that have those really bad ingredients in them," Risius said.

The state of Hawaii banned sunscreens with oxybenzone and octinoxateearlier this year. The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban them nationally.

Copyright 2020 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit .

Nancy Klingener covers the Florida Keys for WLRN. Since moving to South Florida in 1989, she has worked for the Miami Herald, Solares Hill newspaper and the Monroe County Public Library.