Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) has introduced H.R. 4895 (Microbead-Free Water Acts of 2014) to prohibit the sale or distribution of personal care products that contain synthetic plastic microbeads effective January 1, 2018.
The small bits of plastic, used as exfoliants in personal care products can slip through water treatment systems after they are washed down the drain. As a result, these microbeads often end up in local streams, rivers and larger bodies of water. In addition to contributing to the buildup of plastic pollution in waterways, microbeads can often be mistaken by fish and other organisms as food. If consumed, the chemicals found in synthetic plastic microbeads can then be passed on to other wildlife and humans.
Recently, Illinois passed a law banning the sale of products containing plastic microbeads by the end of 2017, and a number of other states are considering similar bans. A number of companies have already started the process of phasing out plastic in their products.