On Tuesday California legislators passed a ban microbeads in cosmetics starting 2020. A previous version of this bill has already passed the CA Assembly last year but failed to gather enough votes in the Senate.
California banned microbeads because they are detrimental to the environment. One tube of facial scrub can contain 350,000 plastic microbeads. Because of their tiny size, billions of them slip through water treatment facilities. CA Assembly has found that, according to credible research, microbeads absorb toxins and get ingested by the fish.Then, Californians end up eating contaminated fish. It’s essentially the same as grating 38 tons of plastic milk jugs per year and dumping them into the water.
California’s ban on microbeads is the toughest in the nation. A handful of other states have already banned microbeads but Caliornia’s ban is stricter because it bans not only plastic microbeads but also biodegradable ones. Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland and New Jersey have already enacted anti-microbeads laws. Similar bills are pending in Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington. Several companies have started phasing out plastic microbeads from their cosmetics, and began researching natural alternatives such as shells, oatmeal, beeswax, nuts, seeds, and even sand. These alternatives will, hopefully, help keep California water cleaner.
Some personal care companies had already pledged stop using microbeads even before the bill’s passage. Avon, L’Oreal, The Body Shop, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, Oral-B, Ikea, Target and others.