NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released the pamphlet, titled “Microbeads Megaproblem” Keep Your Home Free of Plastic Microbeads” yesterday, alongside the app.
It offers information to New York consumers on how to both identify and avoid products that contain plastic microbeads, as well as informing them about the potential environmental hazards that the tiny beads have caused to waterways in and around the New York area.
Aim is to help consumers make informed decisions
Schneiderman’s office says that the pamphlet is being issued to back up the State’s Microbead-Free Waters Act, which is currently awaiting passage by the New York State Legislature.
Once passed, it will prohibit the distribution and sale of personal care and cosmetic products containing microbeads anywhere in the state.
The state assembly passed the bill last month, but with 34 State Senators already supporting it the bill has enough votes to gain a comfortable passage.
Threat to New York waterways
“From the Great Lakes to the Long Island Sound, New York’s waterways are invaluable resources that must be protected from avoidable forms of plastic pollution like microbeads,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.
“We need legislation to ban the bead in New York State, but in the meantime, these tips will help consumers fight to protect our natural resources, our wildlife, and our outdoor economy – preserving them for generations of New Yorkers to come.”
Full information about the campaign is available through the website - www.beatthemicrobead.org - which outlines three principle objectives:
- To help consumers check the ingredient list of personal care products they have at home or plan to buy
- To check the product against a list of products containing microbeads
- Enables consumers to download the Beat the Microbead App
Growing number of alternatives
Ahead of the plans to implement the regulation in other states and nationwide, several ingredients providers have launched biodegradable microbead alternatives, including Evonik and Floratech, while Honeywell is in the midst of developing its alternative.
In March, Colorado became the latest US state to propose a bill to ban the use of microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products.
The bill falls in line with similar regulations that are being introduced in a growing number of states nationwide, aimed at tackling the pollution problem that is occurring in waterways and marine areas throughout the country due to accumulation of the non-biodegradable plastic microbeads.
So far two states – Illinois and New Jersey – have implemented a future ban on microbeads, while dozens of other states are currently mulling similar regulation.
California has also proposed a bill to ban microbeads. This was rejected when it went to a house vote last year, but is expected to be proposed again during the course of this year.