Lawmakers in Oregon are considering passing a bill to ban the use of microbeads in cosmetics.
A public hearing is due to be held in Oregon to assess a state-wide ban, which would prohibit the manufacture and sale of products containing microbeads. If Oregon goes ahead with the change to legislation, it will become the second US state to ban microbeads following Illinois’ decision last year.
The Illinois ban came after a team of researchers with 5 Gyres Institute, a California-based environmental group, found high levels of microbeads in 2012 from samples taken at Lakes Erie, Superior and Huron. Scientists have also found beads in the ocean.
Anna Cummins, Executive Director of 5 Gyres, commented, “Those toxins can transfer from the plastic and concentrate up the food chain. By extension, the concern is both for the health of our marine ecosystem and our marine wildlife but also to humans that are at the top of the food chain and consume seafood.
The Personal Care Products Council, a trade association representing the cosmetics and personal care products industry, supports the bill.
Karin Ross, Director of Government Affairs for the council, said, “The industry shares a common interest with other stakeholders in protecting the environment and the industry takes questions regarding the presence of microbeads in our waterways very seriously.”
Carla Piluso, Democratic State Representative for Oregon, added, “It’s really about the environment, and they’re non-biodegradable.”
If the ban is passed, it will take effect in December 2019 to give companies time to comply.