Cleansers Containing Microbeads Pollute Waters and Poison Fish; Microbeads Free Waters Act Prevents Further Pollution of our Ecosystems
WASHINGTON –(ENEWSPF)–December 18, 2015. U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today announced that the Microbeads Free Waters Act of 2015, legislation he introduced with Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) which prohibits the use of microbeads in personal care products, has passed both the House and the Senate and is now heading to the President’s desk for his signature.
Microbeads, small synthetic plastic particles used as an abrasive in many personal-care and beauty products, absorb persistent toxic chemicals such as DDT, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), are commonly found in waterways. Fish and wildlife can mistake microbeads for food and ingest high concentrations of toxins that then enter the food chain, contaminating the food that we eat.
“Illinois was the first state to ban products containing microbeads and I am encouraged that the rest of the country will soon follow in our state’s footsteps,” Senator Kirk said. “I am committed to keeping the Great Lakes clean and safe for future generations, and thank my colleagues on the Great Lakes Task Force for working with me to ban these harmful products.”
A standard facial cleanser product with microbead exfoliants can contain more than 300,000 plastic microbeads per bottle, which are too small to be filtered through wastewater treatment facilitates and, as a result, are discharged directly into area waterways. Natural alternatives to microbes exist, making the transition from synthetic plastic microbeads to natural ingredients a common sense step to keeping plastics out of the Great Lakes.
Because of the detrimental effect microbeads have on our natural resources, companies have already agreed to phase them out of production. This bipartisan legislation would implement a commonsense way for companies across the country to do so on a level playing field by establishing a definition of microbeads and setting uniform dates for the prohibition of manufacture and sale of products. The House version was authored by Congressmen Fred Upton (R-MI-06) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06).
Senator Kirk is co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, a bipartisan organization that works to enhance and protect the environmental health of the Great Lakes.
This legislation is supported by the Personal Care Products Council, the Alliance for Great Lakes, the American Chemistry Council, Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Consumer Healthcare Products Associations, and The Plastics Industry Trade Association.