(CNN)Key West, Florida, has voted to ban certain sunscreens in an effort to protect coral reefs in its surrounding waters.
The city joins a growing list of places that have banned sunscreens containing the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. The Pacific nation of Palau and the state of Hawaii both passed similar bans last year.
The two particular sunscreen ingredients are FDA-approved and help protect skin against damage from ultraviolet rays. So far, there’s been no conclusive evidence to suggest the chemicals pose risks to humans.
There is a growing body of evidence, however, that suggests those sunscreen ingredients cause coral bleaching and other toxic effects to marine ecosystems when sunscreens worn by beachgoers wash off in the shower or in the water.
“To me, it boils right down to the fact that there are thousands of sunscreens out there and we have one reef,” Mayor Teri Johnston said at a city commission meeting on Tuesday night. “And we have an opportunity to do one small thing to protect that. I believe it’s our obligation.”