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Upton: “Simply put, microbeads are causing mega-problems”

Upton, Subcommittee Hold First Legislative Hearing on Bipartisan Microbead Issue

Washington, May 1, 2015 | Tom Wilbur/Lynn Turner (202 225 3761/269-385-0039)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health held the first legislative hearing on H.R. 1321, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015. The bipartisan legislation, authored by Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, and cosponsored by committee chairman Fred Upton, would require the Food and Drug Administration to prohibit the sale or distribution of personal care products containing microbeads by January 1, 2018. The legislation would also establish a national standard to protect the environment and ensure that manufacturers do not face a patchwork of State laws.

“Microbeads are those tiny little scrubbers in your soap, cleansers, and even toothpaste. On their own, they are nearly invisible, smaller than a pinhead. But once they’ve been flushed down the drain is when the problems begin,” said Upton during an opening statement. “Because they are so small, they escape water filtration systems and end up in our bodies of water, including the Great Lakes. I will not stand for any activity that puts our beloved Great Lakes in jeopardy. Simply put, microbeads are causing mega-problems.”

“Plastic microbeads are commonly-used abrasive agents in personal care products, such as facial cleansers and toothpaste,” said Dan Wyant, Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. “Microbeads were found in Great Lakes surface waters during a study in 2012 and 2013. Just as we don’t tolerate plastics littering our roadsides and filling our landfills, we should not allow plastics – of any size – to taint our beautiful Great Lakes. Michiganders love the Great Lakes, and they expect strong leadership on issues related to the lakes.”


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