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Key West Environmental Group Starts Campaign Against Some Sunscreens

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Chemicals common in many sunscreens have been found to harm corals.

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 octinoxate earlier this year. The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban them nationally.