UPDATE: Study confirms microbead threat (VIDEO)


Data collected from researchers at the State University of New York at Fredonia last summer showed high levels of microbeads in the Great Lakes, drawing renewed attention to an Illinois proposal banning microbead use in personal care products.

The researchers sampled water from Lake Michigan just off the Chicago shoreline to determine the pervasiveness of microbeads in the water. On average, the collected water contained 17,000 bits of plastic items, mostly microbeads, per square kilometer.

Researchers are concerned that the beads, which naturally soak up toxins, could make their way into the food chain since fish consume them, mistaking them for food.

Senator Heather Steans (D – Chicago) passed legislation out of the Senate in April that would phase out microbead use in personal care products by 2017. The bill is currently being considered in the Illinois House.

To read more about the State University of New York report, click here.

Original Story:

Illinois could be banning microbeads


Illinois could become the first state in the nation to ban the use of microbeads in personal care products if legislation that passed the Senate last week makes its way to the governor. 

Microbeads are tiny plastic spheres that are contained in some cosmetic products, such as facial cleansers and toothpastes. They are often small enough to pass through water treatment systems and end up in lakes and rivers, where fish eat them. Research has shown spheres may absorb toxins and could cause harm to the fish that ingest them.

State Senator Heather Steans (D – Chicago) has sponsored legislation to ban microbeads, with the support of the chemical industry, starting on December 31, 2017.

Steans held a press conference yesterday at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago to discuss her legislation.

“At the same time that researchers are gathering more evidence of the prevalence of plastic microbeads in aquatic ecosystems and the harm they may be causing, the cosmetics industry is developing safer alternatives,” Steans said. “So it’s a perfect time to phase out their sale in Illinois.”

Steans was joined by State Representatives Jaime Andrade (D-Chicago) and Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), Jen Walling (Executive Director, Illinois Environmental Council), Aislinn Gauchay (Manager of Great Lakes and Sustainability, John G. Shedd Aquarium), Jared Teutsch (Alliance for the Great Lakes), Simon Belisle (Program Associate, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative) and Karin Ross (Director Government Affairs, Personal Care Products Council).

Senate Bill 2727 will now be debated by the Illinois House of Representatives.