Quantcast

New Jersey Congressman Proposes Federal Microbead Ban

Health + Wellness

Illinois became the first state to ban microbeads less than two weeks ago, but one Congress member figures it's never too early to spur change on a larger scale.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) on Wednesday introduced legislation that would place a federal ban on microbeads, the small plastic particles found in many beauty and cosmetic products. The exfoliants are tiny enough to slip through water treatment systems after consumers wash them down the drain, pushing them to local streams, rivers and larger bodies of water.

Pallone's legislation would ban the sale or distribution of cosmetics products containing plastic microbeads by Jan. 1, 2018.

Less than two weeks after Illinois made history as the first state to ban the sale of products containing microbeads, a Congressman has followed up with a federal proposal. Photo credit: 5 Gyres/Twitter

"Many people buying these products are unaware of their damaging effects," Pallone said in a statement. "If we know that these products will eventually reach our waterways, we must make sure that they don’t contain synthetic plastic that does not biodegrade and ultimately pollute our waterways."

The 5 Gyres Institute, which surveyed the Great Lakes region for micro-plastic concentration, applauded Pallone's proposal.

"This is a huge victory for 5 Gyres, and for the clean-water community," said Anna Cummins, 5 Gyres co-founder and executive director. "Until we see the actual bill, we are cautiously optimistic—our coalition partners will unanimously oppose any bill that allows for bioplastics or degradable plastics being used as an alternative. No form of plastics belong in products that wash into our precious waterways."

Cummins said the group was confident that politicians, the public and non-governmental organizations could unite on passing a federal ban. 

"We have a responsibility to put a stop to this unnecessary plastic pollution," Pallone said. "By phasing out the use of plastic microbeads and transitioning to non-synthetic alternatives, we can protect U.S. waters before it’s too late.”

The Illinois ban requires manufacturers to remove synthetic microbeads from their process by the end of 2018, while sales will be illegal in 2019. 

L’Oreal, The Body Shop, Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble are among the companies who have already agreed to phase out the use of microbeads.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

"It would be great to see all the candidates join Elizabeth Warren in taking the No Big Ag Money Pledge," said Citizens Regeneration Lobby's Alexis Baden-Mayer. Peter Blanchard / Flickr / ric (CC BY 2.0)

By Andrea Germanos

Food system justice and environmental advocates on Wednesday urged all Democratic presidential hopefuls to follow in the footsteps of Sen. Elizabeth Warren in signing a pledge rejecting campaign cash from food and agribusiness corporations.

Read More
A new study shows the impact Native Americans had on landscapes was "small" compared to what followed by Europeans. The findings provide important takeaway for conservation in New England today, seen above in a view of areas surrounding Rangeley Lakes in Maine. Cappi Thompson / Moment / Getty Images

There's a theory going around that Native Americans actively managed the land the lived on, using controlled burns to clear forests. It turns out that theory is wrong. New research shows that Native Americans barely altered the landscape at all. It was the Europeans who did that, as ZME Science reported.

Read More
Sponsored
Loggers operate in an area of lodgepole pine trees killed by the mountain pine beetle in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest on Sept. 13, 2019 in Montana. As climate change makes summers hotter and drier in the Northern Rockies, forests are threatened with increasing wildfire activity, deadly pathogens and insect infestations, including the mountain pine beetle outbreak. The insects have killed more than six million acres of forest across Montana since 2000. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Donald Trump told a crowd at the Davos World Economic Forum Tuesday that the U.S. will join the Forum's 1t.org initiative to restore and conserve one trillion trees around the world, according to The Hill.

Read More
Wild rice flatbread is one of many Native recipes found in Indigikitchen. Indigikitchen

The online cooking show Indigikitchen is providing a platform to help disseminate Indigenous food recipes — while helping eaters recognize their impact on the planet and Native communities.

Read More

On the Solomon Islands, rats and poachers are the two major threats to critically endangered sea turtles. A group of local women have joined forces to help save the animals from extinction.

Read More