Tampa doctor calls bill proposing prescription for some sunscreens dangerous

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A proposed bill could require you to get a prescription for most sunscreens.  

The bill proposed by Sen. Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) claims two chemicals found in most sunscreens – Oxybenzone and Octinoxate – are getting into the water.  

“My bill would simply require sunscreen available over the counter in Florida to be free of Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, two chemicals which research has shown contribute to the bleaching of coral reefs, lead to deformities in fish and other aquatic life, and threaten the general health of our oceans,” said Stewart. 

Opponents of the bill include Tampa dermatologist, Dr. Seth Forman. He believes this could do more harm than good.  

“Our only hope at preventing and reducing skin cancers is to protect ourselves from the sun,” said Forman.  

According to the CDC, Florida has the second-highest rate of melanoma or skin cancer in the country.  

Under the proposal, customers would need a prescription for sunscreens with certain ingredients. 

“Some companies would rather ignore the environmental impacts to protect their bottom line,” said Stewart. “My legislation offers a way to protect our skin while preserving our environment.” 

If Senator Stewart’s bill passes, it would go in to effect next year. 

“Eliminating the ability to get sunscreen or discouraging people for a reason to not use sunscreen is potentially dangerous,” Dr. Forman said. “We don’t know for certain that these chemicals do in fact harm the coral reef. If at a time we find that certain chemicals are definitively destroying the coral reef, then I think we need to reexamine this.”


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