In 2014, the California legislature approved a plastic bag ban--a first in the nation--but unfortunately failed to pass a ban on plastic microbeads from personal care products by just one vote.
As 2015 approaches, the author of AB 1699, Assembly Member Richard Bloom, has told media that he plans to reintroduce the bill.
According to scientists who have found plastic microbeads in both the Great Lakes and other open waters, these plastic microbeads don't degrade. Additional studies have found that plastic particles can attract and accumulate surrounding toxins (DDT, PCBs) from the water and onto the plastic surfaces. When ingested by fish and other wildlife, these toxic plastic pieces end up polluting our food chain.
Wastewater treatment plants are ill equipped to capture the beads, which are washed down the drains of sinks and bathtubs and ultimately end up in rivers and oceans. Toothpaste, facial scrubs, and shampoos are just a few examples of products with these beads.
Stiv Wilson of 5 Gyres, the environmental research group that sponsored the bill, predicted, "I think we will win this year. We're...building a broader coalition to sponsor this."
Learn more about AB 1699 on our website, and stay tuned for additional news as the legislative session kicks into gear.
(photo credit LA Times)