Tuesday, June 9, 2015

California bill to ban microbeads in cosmetics

On May 22, 2015, the California State Assembly has approved a bill that would ban microbeads in cosmetics starting 2020.  A previous version of this bill has already passed the CA Assembly last year but failed to gather enough votes in the Senate. The present version of the bill includes some concessions that make it more likely that the bill will pass the CA Senate this time around. Senate hearing is scheduled for 06/17/2015. 

California attempts to ban microbeads because they are detrimental to the environment. One tube of facial scrub can contain 350,000 plastic microbeads. Because of their tiny size, billions of them slip through water treatment facilities. CA Assembly has found that, according to credible research, microbeads absorb toxins and get ingested by the fish.Then, Californians end up eating contaminated fish. It’s essentially the same as grating 40 tons of plastic milk jugs per year and dumping them into the water. Dumping plastic bottles into the Pacific is, of course, illegal, so the bill aims to ban plastic microbeads as well.

If the bill ultimately becomes law, it will be the toughest ban on microbeads in the nation. A handful of other states have already banned microbeads but Caliornia’s proposed ban is stricter because it bans not only plastic microbeads but also biodegradable ones. Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland and New Jersey have already enacted anti-microbeads laws. Similar bills are pending in Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington.  Several companies have started phasing out plastic microbeads from their cosmetics, and began researching natural alternatives such as shells, oatmeal, beeswax, nuts, seeds, and even sand. These alternatives will, hopefully, help keep California water cleaner.