Quantcast

New York and California Introduce Legislation to Ban Plastic Microbeads in Cosmetics

Insights + Opinion

Design matters more than recycling. Microbeads don’t make the cut, designed to wash down the drain into your local waterway. They are irrecoverable and therefore never recycled.

Microbeads, those little polyethylene scrubbers in facial cleansers, are now on the way out thanks to the one-two legislative punch. The New York state district attorney’s office proposed a bill to ban microplastics in cosmetics, followed by the same bill introduced to the California legislature a few days later by Assemblyman Richard Bloom. These two markets, if lost, will drive producers to reconsider putting microbeads in future products.

The 5 Gyres Institute led the legislative front. “We’re about doing the research to back up our campaigns,” said Executive Director Anna Cummins. Surveys of the Great Lakes in 2012 and 2013, in collaboration with SUNY Fredonia aboard the Flagship Niagara, found microbeads in the five Great Lakes.

Presumably the 1/3 mm beads come from poor waste treatment, either using sieves too large to capture microplastics, combined sewage overflow pumping raw sewage into the lakes on heavy rain days or using treated solids full of plastic as fertilizer on public lands. One or all of these three sources are responsible for hundreds of microplastics floating from our cities.

“Legislation levels the playing field,” said Stiv Wilson of 5 Gyres. The ball began rolling early last year with another organization in Europe called the Plastic Soup Foundation campaigned heavily resulting in the company Unilever banning microbeads in their products by 2015.

“After our research teams found the first evidence of microbeads in the environment, we felt confident to launch our campaign,” said Cummins. Soon Proctor and Gamble and Johnson & Johnson began making noise about phasing out microbeads on a multi-year time line.

Despite these voluntary efforts, we pressed for legislation. We’re confident is will pass.

Visit EcoWatch’s WATER page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be both good and bad.

On one hand, it helps your body defend itself from infection and injury. On the other hand, chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain and disease.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Dan Nosowitz

It's no secret that the past few years have been disastrous for the American farming industry.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and coconut oil are fats that have risen in popularity alongside the ketogenic, or keto, diet.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Bijal Trivedi

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Nov. 13 that describes a list of microorganisms that have become resistant to antibiotics and pose a serious threat to public health. Each year these so-called superbugs cause more than 2.8 million infections in the U.S. and kill more than 35,000 people.

Read More Show Less
Rool Paap / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be good or bad depending on the situation.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

By Joe Vukovich

Under the guise of responding to consumer complaints that today's energy- and water-efficient dishwashers take too long, the Department of Energy has proposed creating a new class of dishwashers that wouldn't be subject to any water or energy efficiency standards at all. The move would not only undermine three decades of progress for consumers and the environment, it is based on serious distortions of fact regarding today's dishwashers.

Read More Show Less

By Emily Moran

If you have oak trees in your neighborhood, perhaps you've noticed that some years the ground is carpeted with their acorns, and some years there are hardly any. Biologists call this pattern, in which all the oak trees for miles around make either lots of acorns or almost none, "masting."

Read More Show Less

By Catherine Davidson

Tashi Yudon peeks out from behind a net curtain at the rooftops below and lets out a sigh, her breath frosting on the windowpane in front of her.

Some 700 kilometers away in the capital city Delhi, temperatures have yet to dip below 25 degrees Celsius, but in Spiti there is already an atmosphere of impatient expectation as winter settles over the valley.

Read More Show Less