For immediate release:
Feb. 3, 2015
INDIANAPOLIS - Legislation authored by State Rep. B. Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend) banning the use of synthetic plastic microbeads in personal care products was today unanimously passed by members of the Indiana House of Representatives based on scientific research attesting the microbeads’ damaging effects on the environment, wildlife, and public health.
The ban is contained in House Bill 1185, which has garnered support from environmental groups and surprisingly enough, the industry it proposes to further regulate. The Personal Care Products Council manufactures, distributes, and supplies the vast majority of finished cosmetic and personal care products marketed in the U.S. and is backing the bill.
Rep. Bauer explains the need for House Bill 1185 in this 28-second audio clip.
“Indiana can keep the momentum going to eliminate destructive products from the market and prevent waterway pollution from microbeads,” said Bauer. “We might not be the first state to ban microbeads, but we can be the next to preserve our natural resources.”
Non-biodegradable microbeads are less than five millimeters in size and can be found in products like facial exfoliators, shampoo, toothpaste, moisturizers, lipstick, and fragrances. Contaminating ingredients can easily be substituted by natural, decomposable alternatives such as colloidal oatmeal, apricot seeds, walnut or pecan shells, and bamboo.
During recent testimony on behalf of HB 1185, Dr. Tim Hollein of the University of Loyola Chicago described how microbeads and plastic fibers from clothing can’t be filtered out at water treatment plants due to their miniscule size. As the nearly microscopic plastic moves through the purification system, bacteria and other chemicals are accumulated before the pollutants re-enter and become trapped in lakes and rivers for extended periods of time.
Dr. Hollein’s extensive research on waterways in close proximity to water treatment facilities exposed plastic microbeads and fibers in every examined water source.
When studying water pollution in the Great Lakes, Dr. Sherri Mason of the University of New York at Fredonia expected bags and bottles to be the predominant litter contaminants. However, 80 percent of identified plastic particles were smaller than one millimeter. Her research also indicates the microbeads are being consumed by wildlife and moving through the food chain onto humans.
Bauer is joined on HB 1185 by co-authors State Reps. Edward Clere (R-New Albany) and Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington).
The bill passed the House with a vote of 97-0 and will now advance to the Senate for further legislative action.