Issue Date: November 23, 2015
Committee Passes Microbead Ban
A measure that would prohibit the sale of personal care products containing plastic microbeads is working its way through Congress. The House of Representatives’ Energy & Commerce Committee approved the bill, H.R. 1321, on Nov. 18. The legislation would require manufacturers to begin phasing out synthetic microbeads in 2017, earlier than any of the currently enacted state laws. “The strong federal standard we have developed here is more protective and on a faster timeline than any state law in place,” said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), who introduced the bill in March. Nine states have taken action so far to protect water resources by banning microbeads in personal care products. The tiny plastic beads are used in products like toothpaste and bodywash to help scrub the teeth or skin. They can pass through wastewater treatment systems and pollute waterways. The bill, which now awaits a vote on the House floor, targets solid plastic particles that are less than 5 mm in size. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate in May.
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