California passes bill to ban biobased microbeads

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Courtesy of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

On May 22, 2015, the California State Assembly passed the Plastic Microbeads Nuisance Prevention Law, a bill designed to ban the use of microbeads in beauty products and prevent the environment harm that occurs when they inevitably end up in waterways. California is not the first state to restrict microbeads as Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, and Colorado have also done so and several other states are in the process of creating bans. The big difference with this legislation is that California is the first state to ban petroleum-based plastic microbeads as well as biodegradable biobased microbeads. Critics of the biobased exception state that there is not enough research into how the biobased beads degrade under different conditions, and state that the bioplastics may still absorb toxic chemicals and introduce them to the food chain. The bill has been moved to the California senate and referred to the Committees on Environmental Quality and Judiciary.

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