California to ban microbead plastic in order to protect marine life

The Guardian, 12th October 2015, reports: California’s governor, Jerry Brown, has signed legislation requiring California to phase out the use of microscopic exfoliating beads in personal care products sold in the state starting in 2020 to protect fish and wildlife.

The tiny plastic beads found in soap, toothpaste and body washes are so small that they are showing up in the bodies of fish and other wildlife after passing through water filtration systems without disintegrating. Assemblyman

Richard Bloom (Democrat, Santa Monica) said his bill, AB888, seeks to drastically restrict all use of the non-biodegradable beads, which can contain various toxins.

“AB888 was carefully crafted to avoid any loopholes that would allow for use of potentially harmful substitutes,” Bloom said in a statement Thursday. “This legislation ensures that personal care products will be formulated with environmentally-safe alternatives to protect our waterways and oceans.”

A number of companies are replacing microbeads with natural substances such as ground-up fruit pits.

California lawmakers have attempted similar legislation before, but they met opposition from personal-care product companies. Amendments to the measure this year prompted many business critics to drop their opposition to California joining several other states in eliminating the so-called microbeads.

Source: The Guardian, 12th October 2015. For the full details, see www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/09/california-bans-microbeads-to-protect-marine-life


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