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Image Credit: 5 Gyres

Image Credit: 5 Gyres

December 7, 2015, The House of Representatives unanimously passed the Microbeads-Free Waters Act.  After we worked to get microbeads successfully banned in California, we began to tackle the issue on a national level. We couldn’t be more excited about this decision.  Here’s why:

  1. It has an even more aggressive timeline than the CA bill and — requiring that microbeads are phased out by 2017 vs. 2020. That means 3 years worth of microbead containing products – millions of beads – are kept out of our shared waters.
  2. It doesn’t contain a “biodegradable” loophole – several state bills (IL, MI…) include language written by the plastics industry that allow manufacturers to replace petroleum-based plastic microbeads with “bioplastic” beads, which don’t biodegrade in the ocean.
  3. Getting National legislation introduced, and ideally passed, will educate MANY more people across the country about the issues relating to microbeads. National bills result in media, articles, press releases, and more people engaged to take steps in the meantime: i.e. DON’T BUY PRODUCTS WITH MICROBEADS.
  4. The bill bans all rinse-off cosmetics, which INCLUDES toothpaste. It doesn’t however include cosmetics such as fillers, creams or cleaning products in general – that is the next phase of the campaign….
  5. It preempts statewide legislation. The GOOD: this means it will trump “bad” state bills – the ones that include the “biodegradable loophole.” The BAD: There’s still time for the bill to change before it’s passed, which leaves it open to industry pressure to include biodegradable options.

WHAT’S NEXT
Next, the Act gets passed on to a Senate vote.  We’ve been working with legislators to ensure the voice of the environmental community is being heard.

This article was originally published at 5 Gyres. It has been reprinted here with permission.

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