Sunscreen ban prompts ban on bans from Florida lawmakers

If you live in the sunshine state, sunscreen is one thing you can't live without. However, some coastal communities are banning certain sunscreens due to chemicals damaging marine life.

"Rates of skin cancer are very high, and we have lots of people who loved to be outside, so they're going to get exposed on a regular basis," said FOX 13 Medical Reporter Dr. Joette Giovinco.

According to NOAA, common chemicals in sunscreen, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, are bleaching the coral reefs and damaging some sea creatures' reproductive systems.

That's why sunscreens containing these chemicals have been banned from retail shelves in cities like Miami and Key West.

However, some state lawmakers are pushing a new bill that would make these bans illegal.

"We have to protect ourselves, but there are lots of options out there. You could use protective clothing, you can use physical barriers or sunblocks," said Giovinco.

But not everyone in Tallahassee is backing this 'ban on bans' idea. An opposing bill proposed by State Sen. Linda Stewart would require consumers to visit their doctor and get a prescription in order to purchase those sunscreens.

"Do you want to put that sunscreen on your body? Which we don't know if there's any effects there, but we do know there's an effect that it has if you're swimming in the ocean," said Sen. Stewart.

Regardless of concerns, doctors remain adamant.

"It is a known fact that UV radiation can cause skin cancer and we have very high rates here in the state of Florida," said Giovinco. "So, protection is really critical."

If you want to protect your skin without hurting marine life, experts say to look for sunscreens that don't contain oxybenzone and octinoxate and are at least 30 broad-spectrum SPF.