On December 28, President Obama signed the bipartisan “Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015,” which “prohibits the manufacture and introduction into interstate commerce of rinse-off cosmetics containing intentionally-added plastic microbeads.”
Microbeads have been cause for concern with scientists reporting microbead pollution in U.S. lakes, rivers, and the oceans, says MLive. They have been shown to filter through municipal wastewater treatment plants after they are rinsed down the drain by consumers. Pollutants can attach to the microbeads and enter the food chain through fish and other wildlife that consume the microbeads, mistaking them for food.
“The law will phase microbeads out of consumer products over the next few years, starting with a ban on manufacturing the beads in July 2017, followed by product-specific manufacturing and sales bans in 2018 and 2019,” says MLive. The act defines microbeads as “any solid plastic particle” smaller than five millimeters intended to be used as an exfoliant.