SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D‐Chicago 7th) advanced legislation today that would ban “microbeads” – tiny, plastic spheres included in some cosmetic products, such as facial cleansers and toothpastes. The measure passed the Senate with no opposition.
“I’m delighted that environmental groups and the chemical industry have reached an agreement on this legislation,” Steans said. “At the same time as researchers gather more evidence of the prevalence of plastic microbeads in aquatic ecosystems and the harm they may be causing, the cosmetics industry is developing safer alternatives. So it’s a perfect time to phase out their sale in Illinois.”
Microbeads, which measure less than five millimeters across and are used as abrasives, are so tiny they often slip through water treatment systems and end up in lakes and rivers, where aquatic animals ingest them. Ongoing research suggests the non‐biodegradable spheres may also absorb toxins along the way, adding to the threat to Great Lakes fish and possibly to the humans who catch and eat them.
“We applaud Sen. Steans for putting forth this bill and proactively addressing this emerging threat to the Great Lakes and all Illinois waters,” said Olga Lyandres, Research Manager of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, which initiated the effort to ban microbeads. “These products are unnecessary and do not belong in our Great Lakes, especially when so many alternatives exist.”
“The IMA applauds Senator Steans for her leadership in working with industry and environmental advocates on a common sense solution that will phase out the use of microbeads in consumer health care products while manufacturers transition to newer and safer products,” said Mark Denzler, Vice President and COO of the Illinois Manufacturing Association. “Illinois will be the first state in the nation to take this step to protect our waters.”
The legislation prohibits the manufacture of personal care products containing microbeads starting December 31, 2017. Their sale in Illinois would be prohibited beginning December 31, 2018. Microbead bans are also being considered this year in New York and California.
Next, SB 2727 will be considered by the House of Representatives.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Katharine Eastvold (217) 782‐0591