Go Illinois! If you’ve been following my blog for the past few months, you are probably familiar with the Microbead-Free Waters Act and the impact it has on both our environmentent and our beauty products. Here’s a recap to refresh your memory:
- Exfoliating beads made of plastic (polyethylene/polypropylene) are missed by our water filtration system when they are rinsed down the drain. They are NOT biodegradable.
- These beads soak up and trap toxins, and fish mistake them as food and eat them. So not only are they trapping toxins in our water, but they are contaminating and killing the fish that would normally be harvested for food.
- The Microbead-Free Waters Act was proposed to ban plastic particles in personal care products for the benefit of our environment.
While I was only aware of the act being proposed in New York and California, Illinois has become the first official state to ban microbeads as of Sunday, June 9, 2014 with the passing of the Environmental Protection Act. It makes sense that they were quick on the draw, being one of the states that borders Lake Michigan, one of the bodies of water millions of plastic microbeads were found in during the research conducted by 5 Gyres.
The new law will enforce the ban on the manufacturing of products containing microbeads by the end of 2017, and the sale of them by 2019.
I’ve been asked by some readers if they will still be able to purchase products containing microbeads from online retailers in a state where the legislation has not been passed. The act states:
“No person shall accept for sale a personal care product […] that contains synthetic plastic microbeads…”
…to which I interpret as: no, you will not be able to purchase them if you are located in the state where the law is passed. Plus, why would you want to? There are tons of natural alternatives for a squeaky clean exfoliation that don’t harm our environment! Here are a few accessible options:
With the adoption of this act, more brands are being prompted to cease the incorporation of plastic in their products. Big names like Johnson & Johnson have already vowed to phase microbeads out of all products by 2015- no matter what the state.
Are you affected by the new law? What are your thoughts? Just last month, I received a collection of awesome lip scrubs in the mail without knowing the ingredients. I couldn’t find them listed anywhere. After contacting the brand, I found out they, too, contained microbeads! What if I swallowed them? Yuck!