Press Releases

House Passes Upton Legislation to Ban Microbeads

Bipartisan Legislation Will Keep These Harmful Pollutants Out of Great Lakes

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Washington, December 7, 2015 | Tom Wilbur/Lynn Turner (202 225 3761/269-385-0039) | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, applauded the unanimous passage of H.R. 1321, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015. The bipartisan legislation, co-sponsored by Upton and Rep. Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, would ban the use of microbeads in rinse off cosmetic products.

“These microbeads are tiny plastic, but make for big-time pollution. As someone who grew up on Lake Michigan and represents a large chunk of Michigan coastline, I understand firsthand how important it is to maintain the beauty and integrity of our Great Lakes,” said Upton, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “The Great Lakes have survived many a foe – severe pollution, oil spills, discharge from refineries, zebra mussels, and attempts to steal our water, just to name a few. We will fight any activity that puts our beloved Great Lakes in jeopardy.”

Microbeads are tiny scrubbers found in cleansers, body scrubs, and toothpaste. On their own, they are nearly invisible, smaller than a pinhead. Once they are flushed down the drain, the problems begin. Because they are so small, microbeads easily flow through water filtration systems and end up in bodies of water, including the Great Lakes. They are known to absorb pollutants and are often mistake as food by fish and wildlife.

H.R. 1321 would ban the use of microbeads in rinse off cosmetic products. The ban on manufacturing microbeads is to begin on July 1, 2017, the ban on manufacturing over-the-counter drugs and on sales of cosmetics with microbeads is to begin on July 1, 2018 and the ban on sales of over-the-counter drugs containing microbeads is to begin July 1, 2019.

H.R. 1321 previously advanced through the Energy and Commerce Committee on a unanimous vote in November

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