Read Blog

The latest on plastic pollution

California Assembly Votes To Ban The Microbead! Woot!

Posted on: 4 Comments


(California Assembly Member Richard Bloom with 5 Gyres Attorney Rachel Doughty of Greenfire Law after our win today!)

HUGE VICTORY TODAY!  Thanks to all that helped us make this happen!

California Assembly Passes Microplastic Nuisance Prevention Law To Remove Plastic Microbeads from Personal Care Products

SACRAMENTO, CA In a historic vote, The California Assembly voted today to pass The Microplastic Nuisance Prevention Law to ban the sale and manufacture of personal care products containing tiny, synthetic plastic microbeads. The 5 Gyres Institute authored the bill, and is sponsored by Assembly Member Richard Bloom. (D-Santa Monica) The bill comes after 5 Gyres and researchers from SUNY Fredonia discovered large quantities of plastic microbeads escaping wastewater treatment in several New York watersheds, The Great Lakes, Chicago River, and Los Angeles River. In 2013, 5 Gyres and SUNY published a peer-reviewed paper in the journal, Marine Pollution Bulletin, documenting high concentrations of plastic microbeads in The Great Lakes.

Says Dr. Marcus Eriksen, cofounder and Research Director for 5 Gyres who authored The Great Lakes paper, “We found concentrations of plastic microbeads in Lake Erie that rival some of the highest concentrations in the world’s oceans. Looking to our home waters in the Los Angeles River, we found microbeads there too.  Unfortunately, the more we look, the more we find plastic in our environment.”

The issue of marine plastic pollution is well documented in ocean waters and increasingly, in urban waters as well. The Microplastic Nuisance Prevention Law will go a long way to protect our watersheds from poorly designed products, and in this case, products containing microplastics that are actually designed to go down the drain and into the environment.  These plastic microbeads, used in personal care products as an exfoliant, escape wastewater treatment by the trillions.

Associate Director, Stiv Wilson of 5 Gyres, responsible for coordinating the legislative effort, says, “The passage of our bill by the California Assembly is a big win not only for California waters, but sets a national precedent for industry to take recoverability and recyclability seriously when formulating products.  We are past the tipping point with regard to plastic pollution in our waters and we’ll target any product for regulation, redesign or ban that has no sustainable end of life scenario. We’re on the offensive to protect our precious waters from mindless plastic pollution.”

To pass the bill, 5 Gyres enlisted the support of dozens of California based organizations dedicated to preserving and protecting California’s most vital resource: water.

Says Miriam Gordon, Director, Clean Water Action, “By passing AB 1699 (Bloom), the California Assembly made a bold move today to reduce the contamination of fish and other marine life with pollutant-covered plastic debris. This is a sensible easy bill to vote for as there is no down side- no job loss or significant impact to California businesses and we hope to see the Senate exercise similar good judgment.”

Says Janet Nudelman, Director For Campaign For Safe Cosmetics (Breast Cancer Fund), “Who wants to wash their face with plastics? Microbeads are completely unnecessary, as safer, natural alternatives that don’t pollute the water already exist. Consumer pressure has led multinational cosmetics companies to stop using microbeads, including Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Colgate-Palmolive, but we need laws on the books to make sure their commitments stick. Eliminating microbeads brings us one step closer to cleaning up the beauty aisle!”

Says Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D- Santa Monica) “Passing the Assembly Floor is a big milestone for this bill.  I am proud that my colleagues support our efforts to ensure that our waters are clean, getting plastic microbeads out of these products will eliminate a significant source of pollution.”



Tags: , , , , , ,

4 Responses

  1. Joan Francis says:

    Congratulations…a step in the right direction:) Lifetime Persistency pays!

  2. Congratulations, and thank you for all the hard work to get this through the Assembly. On to the Senate!

  3. John says:

    It doesn’t surprise me that the left coast passes a ban on something that contributes such a small amount of waste to the overall scheme of trash found in the waterways. Once again the knee jerk reaction to a bunch of unfounded propaganda gives way to common sense. Good job California.

    • Tim Nichols says:

      Wow, John. Given the unprecedented amount of evidence presented, it baffles me that anyone could possibly maintain this opinion. It doesn’t take much effort with a search engine to determine this issue is hardly propaganda.

Leave a Reply