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Florida considers banning sunscreens that could hurt the environment

SB 708 would prohibit the sale and distribution of certain sunscreen products to people without prescriptions.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — On the heels of the Key West ban on certain environmentally-harmful sunscreens, a statewide bill to stop some chemicals from hurting the environment has also been filed. 

Related: Key West votes to ban sunscreens that could damage coral reefs

The Florida Senate is considering SB 708, which would prohibit the sale, offer for sale, or distribution of certain sunscreen products to consumers without a prescription. 

Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, filed the bill, which claims the two chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, have "significant harmful impacts on Florida's marine environment and residing ecosystems" and could be harmful to coral reefs and the shoreline.

The bill says chemicals can "increase coral bleaching" which may cause the coral reefs "extreme stress." The legislation says the chemicals can disrupt animals' development and reproductive systems.

Related: Undersea robot tries to save Great Barrier Reef after half its coral dies off

Animals protected by the Endangered Species Act may be affected by exposure to the chemicals, according to Stewart's bill.

If the bill passes, it would take effect on July 1, 2019.

Previous: How much plastic ends up in our oceans and waterways?

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