US lawmakers are to decide whether to ban personal care products containing microbeads – minuscule pieces of plastic considered harmful to the environment – after proposed legislation was approved by a bipartisan committee.
Microbeads, typically under 5mm in size, are used as abrasive exfoliants in products such as toothpastes and facial cleaners. They often evade water filtration systems and flow into rivers, lakes and streams, where they can be mistaken for food by fish. Pollutants can bind to the plastic, causing toxic material to infect fish and, potentially, the humans that consume them.
The US House energy and commerce committee has unanimously approved the Microbead Free Waters Act of 2015, which was introduced by Frank Pallone, a Democrat, and Fred Upton, a Republican who acts as committee chairman.
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