CA Legislature to Vote to Ban Microbeads

Microbeads (Associated Press)
Associated Press

Scores of cosmetic, shampoo, toothpaste and personal care products containing microbeads will be forced to find new exfoliating ingredients should California State Assemblyman Richard Bloom’s (D-Santa Monica) reprised bill to ban microbeads pass the state legislature and become law. An Assembly floor vote is scheduled for Monday.

Under AB 888, the tiny plastic beads would be officially banned from all personal care products sold in California beginning January 1, 2020. Violations could result in fines for offenders of $2,500 per day for each violation.

Appropriations Committee analysis noted that large companies such Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, and Johnson & Johnson have voluntarily moved to replace plastic microbeads with more natural alternatives.

AB 888 has already made its way through two of three committee votes with no opposing votes. The third committee, Appropriations, resulted in a 12-4 passage through to Monday’s floor vote.

Proponents say the plastic microbeads contaminate the environment, flowing through sewage treatment plants and into bodies of water like the San Francisco Bay according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Opponents of the current version of the bill have lobbied for the inclusion of biodegradable plastic microbeads, but Bloom refuses to compromise, according to the Mercury News. Other states, including Illinois, New Jersey and Colorado have allowed biodegradable plastics under similar microbead bans.

Alternatives, such as ground up almond and apricot shells, have been suggested and tried. However, they are “very abrasive and their jagged edges can result in small cuts on the face which could make the skin prone to infections,” Breitbart News previously reported.

Polenta, cocoa beans and sugar have also been explored as potential replacement exfoliants.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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