The U.S. Successfully Bans Microbeads In Beauty Products

Update: On December 29, 2015, President Obama signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which bans the use of "intentionally added plastic microbeads" in personal-care products, into law. What does this mean for you? Stay tuned for a feature this Saturday explaining just that.

Update:
On December 18, 2015, the U.S. Senate passed a bill banning the use of exfoliating plastic microbeads in products like soaps, body washes, and toothpaste. After being swiftly approved by the House, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 passed by unanimous consent in the Senate, according to The Hill. It is now on its way to the desk of President Obama, whose signature will determine whether or not it passes as a law. (Fingers crossed.)
This story was originally published May 28, 2015.

Microbeads have been falling out of favor among consumers for a while now, due to their negative environmental impact. But, their bad rap has finally hit the federal level. On Tuesday, a bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate that, if passed, would effectively ban plastic microbeads in cosmetics, according to The Hill.

A report by the State University of New York in Fredonia states that there are anywhere from 1,500 to 1.1 million microbeads per square mile in the Great Lakes. Fish can mistake the beads for food, and then that contamination ends up in our own food supply. So, we can safely say this ban would be more than helpful.

Legislation like this has been brought forth before, but only at the state level. A federal bill would make a massive difference: If passed, it would amend the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prohibit the sale of any cosmetic or skin-care product that contains microbeads. That would force companies to change their formulations. And, considering the fact that major brands, from Neutrogena to Crest, utilize microbeads in their products, some of our favorite buys would need serious makeovers. The phase-out would begin in January 2018.

In the meantime, you can do your part by opting for exfoliants that don't contain microbeads. In fact, Lush just released a really innovative one that's made with sand. So, until the folks in Washington figure this out, you can scrub up sans guilt. (The Hill)
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