Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015
In a major positive step for the environment, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, an act that will ban the manufacturing of products that contain plastic microbeads.
According to one report, “Microbeads were deemed instrumental in ‘unnecessary plastic pollution,’ with recent research estimating that plastic waste results in up to $13 billion in annual environmental damages.”
“Our oceans are inundated with microplastics that threaten sea birds, turtles and other marine wildlife. Now we can stop adding to the trillions of pieces already out there,” said Blake Kopcho, oceans campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity.
“This will eliminate a pointless and harmful source of plastic pollution before it ever has a chance to reach the oceans.”
Why is this important?
Microbeads enter our waterways easily as they are extremely tiny (usually smaller than one millimeter in size) and difficult to filter through municipal water treatment systems, causing harm not only to marine animals that mistake them for food, but to humans as well.
One significant issue with plastic microbeads is that they absorb toxic chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), which is especially dangerous because it has been linked to negative health effects including endocrine and reproductive system disruption, liver disease and even cancer.
When will the law take effect?
The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 will restrict the manufacturing of products containing plastic microbeads such as toothpaste, face wash and shampoo starting July 1, 2017. (The ban on manufacturing beauty products containing microbeads will begin in 2018.)
The passing of this federal bill is an incredible step in supporting our environment, as it reduces a major source of water pollution and contributes to the health of both marine animals and humans alike.
According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, “Microbeads are highly damaging to the natural environment and the wildlife that live there. “Because natural alternatives already exist, a ban on their use in personal care products makes perfect sense.”
Statesman Journal: Microbead-Free Waters Act a common-sense law
EcoWatch: Victory – Obama Signs Bill Banning Plastic Microbeads
Newsweek: The U.S. Just Banned Microbeads, Those Tiny Plastic Environmental Disasters in Your Face Wash
Environmental Leader: Plastic Microbead Ban Signed into Law, Wins Industry Support
Business Insider: Here’s why the US government suddenly banned a bunch of soaps, bodywashes, and toothpastes
Tech Times: US House Passes Bill To Ban Body Washes, Soaps And Toothpastes That Contain Microbeads
EPA: Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
Center for Biological Diversity – OCEAN PLASTICS POLLUTION:
A Global Tragedy for Our Oceans and Sea Life
The Baltimore Sun: Tiny plastic microbeads are a big danger