Upton’s microbead ban passes House

Bipartisan legislation cosponsored by U.S. Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Frank Pauline (D-NJ) that would ban the use of microbeads in rinse-off cosmetic products was unanimously passed by the House this week.

“These microbeads are tiny plastic, but make for big-time pollution,” Upton said. “As someone who grew up on Lake Michigan and represents a large chunk of Michigan coastline, I understand firsthand how important it is to maintain the beauty and integrity of our Great Lakes. The Great Lakes have survived many a foe – severe pollution, oil spills, discharge from refineries, zebra mussels, and attempts to steal our water, just to name a few. We will fight any activity that puts our beloved Great Lakes in jeopardy.”

Microbeads are smaller than a pinhead in size and serve as scrubbers in cleansers, toothpaste and body scrubs. Because of their size, once they are flushed down drains they easily pass through water filtration systems and end up in bodies of water, including the Great Lakes. Once in nature, microbeads are known to absorb pollutants and are often mistaken as food by fish and wildlife.

The unanimously passed H.R. 1321 seeks to ban microbead use in rinse-off cosmetic products. The ban on manufacturing microbeads would begin on July 1, 2017, with a ban on manufacturing over-the-counter drugs with microbeads and the sale of cosmetics with microbeads set to start on July 1, 2018. A ban on sales of over-the-counter drugs with microbeads would take effect on July 1, 2019.

The legislation unanimously advanced through the Energy and Commerce Committee in November.

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