Upton: “Christmas has come early for Lake Michigan and all of our nation’s waters… Microbeads' days are numbered, and that’s good news.”
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Senate today unanimously approved H.R. 1321, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this year by Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). The bipartisan legislation would begin the phase out of plastic microbeads from personal care products on July 1, 2017. H.R. 1321 passed the House on December 7. The bill now heads to President Obama for his signature.
“Christmas has come early for Lake Michigan and all of our nation’s waters,” said Upton. “These pesky pieces of plastic may be tiny, but they are causing big time pollution. I am pleased the Senate followed the House’s lead, and that the president will soon have an opportunity to sign this important bipartisan bill into law. Microbeads’ days are numbered, and that’s good news.”
Microbeads are the tiny bits of plastic, often used as exfoliants in personal care products like face wash and toothpaste that can slip through water treatment systems after they are washed down the drain and make their way through water filtration systems. As a result, these microbeads often end up in our local streams, rivers, and larger bodies of water.
Scientists have found evidence of microbeads in numerous bodies of water in the United States, including increasingly in the Great Lakes, the world’s largest source of freshwater. In addition to contributing to the buildup of plastic pollution in waterways, microbeads can often be mistaken by fish and other organisms as food. If consumed by fish, the chemicals found in synthetic plastic microbeads can then be passed on to other wildlife and humans. The legislation also will preempt state and local laws related to plastic microbeads in rinse off cosmetics.