NE Ohio lawmakers push microbead ban

Posted at 11:33 PM, Dec 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-09 23:33:52-05

State and federal lawmakers are making more moves to ban those balls of plastic in your beauty products.

Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a bill — the Microbead Free Waters Act — to phase out microbeads from products like facial scrubs and toothpastes.

A similar bill is moving through the Senate, pushed by Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.

"It's terrible for Lake Erie and Lake Erie is probably more affected than any other body of water in the United States," Portman said Wednesday, adding that he's confident the bill will sail through within the next week or so.

"The industry has finally worked with us to come up with a standard," Portmand said. "In three years, these will be phased out and there will be better ways to provide these kinds of scrubs or exfoliants."

Those alternatives include more natural or chemical-based products, and the 3 years gives companies time to figure that transition out.

While some think the microbeads dissolve in water when you wash your face — they don't. The pieces of plastic go down the drain and eventually, end up in Lake Erie. Once there, fish can digest them.

"It's a consumer choice," said Hyle White Lowry with the Alliance for the Great Lakes. "You can look at the back of the label and see if it has the products in it."

Those ingredients include polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), or polymethlyl methacrylate (PMMA).

Ohio also has legislation in the works to ban the beads, sponsored by Sen. Mike Skindell of Lakewood. He's introduced it twice now and is hopeful it will pass.

"Because it impacts our food supply and our fishing tourism of Lake Erie," Skindell said.

Many big companies like Johnson & Johnson, Unilever and Proctor and Gamble have already promised to phase out the products.


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