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Source: ISTOCK

Sunscreens Containing Harmful Chemicals to Be Banned in Key West

By Sophie Hirsh

When applying sunscreen on the beach, the average person's sole concern is that they covered enough of their skin to avoid a painful sunburn. (We've all been there.) But for snowbirds who frequent Key West, there will soon be something else to worry about. On Tuesday, Feb. 5, the tropical vacation town passed a measure banning sunscreen containing two specific chemicals that have been linked to harming coral reefs. Key West is not the only city to institute such a ban, so here's what you need to know about the new legislation.

As The Guardian reported, Key West's city commission voted to ban the sale of sunscreens made with oxybenzone and octinoxate. The legislation, which passed 6-1 on Tuesday, will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2021, according to the New York Times. That leaves plenty of time for local shops to transition the sunscreens they offer.

In addition to banning the sale of these sunscreens, Key West's new legislation will sort of ban the use of them. As the New York Times reported, the bill was backed by Teri Johnston, Key West's mayor. The mayor said that people discovered to be using sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate will simply receive a warning the first time, but they will be fined after being caught a second time. Additionally, people with prescriptions for specific sunscreens will also be excused from following the law. “We have one reef, and we have to do one small thing to protect that ... It’s our obligation,” the mayor said, according to The Guardian