The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
New Jersey Congressman Proposes Federal Microbead Ban
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.
"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
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."