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NY Assembly votes 108-0 to ban microbeads

By: Jim Johnson

May 5, 2014

New York state officials, in an overwhelming and unanimous vote, is moving closer to banning those little tiny plastic beads found in soaps and cosmetic products.

Called microbeads, the plastic has become quite popular in recent years in a variety of consumer products. But there’s also been a backlash against the beads lead by environmental groups concerned about the pollution they allegedly create.

It’s not always easy to get politicians to agree these days, but the New York State Assembly, by a 108-0 vote, passed legislation banning the microbeads May 5.

“We’ve taken an important step toward ridding our oceans, lakes and waterways of microbeads,” said Assemblyman Robert K. Sweeney in a statement. He is chair of the assembly Environmental Conservation Committee and has worked with state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman against the beads.

The Microbead-Free Waters Act would prohibit the distribution and sale of any beauty product or personal care product containing plastic pieces of less than 5 millimeters in the state.

New York was first out of the gate in beginning the legislative process aimed at outlawing the microbeads, but other states are now also showing interest in outlawing the beads.

Environmental groups claim microbeads are so small that they escape through wastewater treatment plants and end up as pollution in waterways.