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House Votes to Ban Microbeads

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Rep. David Deen (D-Westminster) speaks at the Statehouse in support of banning microbeads found in some personal care products. - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • Terri Hallenbeck
  • Rep. David Deen (D-Westminster) speaks at the Statehouse in support of banning microbeads found in some personal care products.
In toothpaste, the minuscule plastics might be identified as  polyethylene. Microbeads such as these are found in hundreds of personal-care products, and they cause problems for waterways and fish.

The House decided unanimously by voice vote Tuesday to advance a bill that would ban the sale of microbeads starting in 2018.

“This is the first step in what’s going to be a year in water,” said Rep. David Deen (D-Westminster), chair of the House Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Committee.

Microbeads are used in products like facial scrubs and body washes, said Lori Fisher, executive director of the Lake Champlain Committee, which is advocating for the ban.

Because they are made from a toxic plastic, the beads pose a threat to aquatic life once they enter waterways, Fisher said.

Those who want to know if the products they use contain microbeads should look for the words polyethylene, polypropylene and polyolefin in the ingredients list, she said.

The House bill is up for another vote Wednesday before heading to the Senate. Illinois has banned microbeads and legislation is pending in other states.




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