30 Dec 2015

President Barack Obama signs into law a ban on tiny plastic particles used in personal cosmetic products that scientists say are polluting U.S. lakes, rivers and the oceans.

Say goodbye to the beads.
On Monday, Dec. 28, President Barack Obama signed into law a ban on tiny plastic particles used in personal cosmetic products that scientists say are polluting U.S. lakes, rivers and the oceans.
The bipartisan "Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015," (H.R. 1321), passed by the U.S. House on Dec. 7, "prohibits the manufacture and introduction into interstate commerce of rinse-off cosmetics containing intentionally-added plastic microbeads."
The tiny plastic beads, about the size of a pen-tip, have been shown to filter through municipal wastewater treatment plants after consumers rinse them down the drain while using soaps, toothpaste and other products that contain them.
The concern is that pollutants can attach to the floating plastic, which enters the food chain when fish and wildlife mistake the tiny beads as edible. 
The House bill was co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St Joseph, and Rep. Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey. The Senate approved the bill Dec. 18.
The law will phase microbeads out of consumer products over the next few years, starting with a ban on manufacturing the beads in July 2017, followed by product-specific manufacturing and sales bans in 2018 and 2019.
In an email blast, the Alliance for the Great Lakes of Chicago said a "wave of action" from California to Maine helped bring an end to the plastic pollution and "now a national ban will protect the Great Lakes and all our nation's waters."
Illinois was the first state to pass a ban, followed by New Jersey. Other Great Lakes States to ban the beads included Indiana and Wisconsin. A Michigan banwent nowhere this fall amid legislative disagreements over allowances for "biodegradable" plastic alternatives.
The act language, which defines microbeads as "any solid plastic particle" less than 5 millimeters in size intended for use as an exfoliant, shuts the door on a loophole that could have let manufacturers switch to a different type of plastic.

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