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News & Press: Public Policy: Environmental Issues

Public Policy Alert: Support SB 708 to Prohibit the Sale of Certain Damaging Sunscreen Products

Monday, March 11, 2019   (0 Comments)
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SB 708: An Act Relating to the Sale of Sunscreen

Florida has introduced SB 708 – Prohibiting the sale of Certain Sunscreen Products. 

SB 708 makes it unlawful to sell, offer for sale, or distribute for sale in Florida an SPF sunscreen protection personal care product that contains oxybenzone or octinoxate, or both, to a consumer who does not have a prescription from a licensed medical professional for such product.

Research has found that oxybenzone and octinoxate environmental contamination persists in Florida’s coastal waters because the contamination is constantly refreshed and renewed every day by swimmers and beach goers, and by sewage contamination of coastal waters (another source of oxybenzone and octinoxate environmental contamination). 

Oxybenzone and octinoxate are known to cause mortality in developing coral; increase coral bleaching that indicates extreme stress, even at temperatures below 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit; cause genetic damage to coral and other marine organisms; degrade corals’ resiliency and inhibit recruitment of new corals. Oxybenzone and octinoxate appear to increase the probability of endocrine disruption, and scientific studies show that both chemicals can induce feminization in adult male fish and increase reproductive diseases in marine invertebrate species, such as sea urchins; and vertebrate species, such as wrasses, eels, and parrotfish and mammals. Oxybenzone and octinoxate also appear to induce deformities in the embryonic development of fish, sea urchins, coral, and shrimp and induce neurological behavioral changes in fish that threaten the continuity of fish populations. There is also evidence that these chemicals may threaten certain species of sea turtles, marine mammals and migratory birds. 

There are viable and safer substitutes on the market. It should be noted that Hawaii already prohibits the sale of sunscreen products with the unacceptable chemicals listed. Although there is also a need to remove these chemicals from sewage contamination (not addressed in this bill), removal of these chemicals from sunscreens should assist in diminishing the contamination.

What can you do?

  1. You can write to your Florida Senator and tell them to support SB 708. A link is provided here and below for your convenience. Simply input your information and so you can write directly to your senator or representative. DEMA has also provided sample verbiage you can use at these links, or you can write your own note to your lawmakers.

  2. You can attend Dive In Day at the Capitol in Tallahassee on March 19 and speak directly to your lawmakers in person regarding this bill. DEMA has organized Dive In Day at the Capitol to help the diving industry in Florida make a greater impact with lawmakers, and to help legislators understand the importance of the diving industry in Florida. Contact Emily Bolde at for more information. 

DEMA strongly urges members of the diving community to participate in this legislative process to get this bill passed.

If you cannot attend Dive in Day, please consider submitting comments directly to your Senator and Representative.   

Should you receive a response from your legislator, please let DEMA know by forwarding them to

DEMA, The Diving Equipment & Marketing Association | US Toll Free: (800) 862-3483 | Ph: (858) 616-6408 | Fx: (858) 616-6495 |