Capitol Public Radio is highlighting a group of environmental bills recently introduced in the California legislature. Among them is a CAW-sponsored bill to ban plastic microbeads in personal care products, as well as a CAW-sponsored bill that would require motor oil sold in California to provide 10,000 miles of driving between oil changes.
AB 888, authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), would ban the sale of products containing plastic microbeads, including toothpaste and facial scrubs. Plastic microbeads are flushed out of bathrooms and into sewage systems, where they absorb toxins, and are eventually dumped into rivers and oceans. When they are ingested by fish and other animals, the toxins enter the food chain on which humans depend. There are many alternatives to plastic microbeads in scrubs, such as coffee and apricot shells. Additionally, dentists report finding plastic microbeads under their patients' gums while toothpaste companies admit there is no hygenic purpose for them to be in toothpaste. Still, plastic companies lobbied to defeat a bill banning plastic microbeads in 2014, and are expected to do the same with AB 888.
SB 778, authored by Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), would require motor oil sold in California to provide drivers with 10,000 miles of driving between oil changes. By essentially banning poor quality motor oils, the bill would save consumers money by reducing oil changes, preventing engine damage and improving gas mileage by 2-3 percent. A two percent improvement in gas mileage in California would save 345 million gallons of gasoline. The bill would also help reduce one of the largest hazardous waste streams in California by reducing used motor oil from 115 million gallons a year to 65 million gallons a year.