For immediate release:
April 30, 2015
INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has signed State Rep. B. Patrick Bauer’s (D-South Bend) ban on the sale or production of products containing plastic microbeads into law. Scientists have found high levels of microbeads in the Great Lakes Basin, as well many bodies of water in the United States.
The phase-out contained in House Enrolled Act 1185 takes effect in July of this year. These small bits of plastic, used as exfoliants in personal care products like face wash, soap and toothpaste, can slip through water treatment systems after being washed down the drain.
“We have a responsibility to halt this unnecessary plastic pollution. By phasing out the use of plastic microbeads and transitioning to biodegradable alternatives, we can protect our water sources before the damage becomes irreparable,” Bauer said. “Natural ingredients like apricot seeds, bamboo and walnut shells can easily replace this destructive environmental pollutant.”
During the water purification process, the nearly microscopic microbeads collect bacteria before re-entering waterways. Fish and other organisms often mistake the plastic for food, passing the chemicals onto humans and other wildlife. Scientists say they’re concerned because the bacterial microbes could be pathogenic.
Illinois passed similar legislation just law year, and a number of other states are considering banning microbeads. The Alliance for the Great Lakes is urging lawmakers to take action.
Many companies have voluntarily begun the process of phasing out plastic in their products. HEA 1185 garnered support from the Personal Care Products Council, the largest manufacturer and supplier of personal care products marketed in the United States, as well as environmental groups.