Exfoliate the old-fashioned way... California bans plastic microbeads in the state

© 5Gyres/Oregon State University


TreeHugger Maggie wrote last year about California's proposal to ban microplastics from cosmetic products (tiny plastic beads in toothpaste and soaps, for example). It might sound like a small problem, literally, but the numbers are staggering: Over 800 trillion microbeads enter US wastewater daily, and because water treatment plants were never designed to handle this new source of pollution, a lot of the microplastics end up in rivers and lakes, get ingested by various creatures, and then make their way up the food chain back to us.

Microbeads© 5Gyres/Oregon State University

But the tide could be turning. California is a big player when it comes to consumer products, so when it bans something, it becomes easier for those who make toothpaste and soap to just remove the stuff across the board. So it was really good news when California governor Jerry Brown signed a legislation yesterday that bans plastic microbeads in a fairly tight way, trying to avoid loopholes (even biodegradable microbeads are banned, just to be safe).

California might be the biggest, but it's not the only state to disavow the use of microplastics in consumer products. At least six other states have passed laws restricting microbeads: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland and New Jersey. And New York is also looking into it...


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