Congressman introduces bill to ban ‘microbeads’

Posted at 5:42 PM, Mar 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-10 18:23:27-04

LANSING, Mich.-- A congressman from Michigan has introduced a bill that would place a ban on the manufacturing of microbeads that are commonly found in soaps.

Rep. Fred Upton said it's a bipartisan bill that would go into effect on a national level.

"The bottom line is, it's going to stop the manufacture of microbeads that are put into cosmetics that ultimately get into all of our water when they're flushed down the drain," Rep. Upton said.

While the beads look harmless, they're anything but. In June, when FOX 17 spoke with Richard Rediske, a professor of water resources at Grand Valley State University, he said the pieces of plastic could be hazardous to not only fish, but also people.

"They can get into the food chain and carry chemicals into the food chain," he said.

The fish feed off the beads, which Rediske said soak up chemicals like flame retardants and pesticides. The problem is, there's no way to stop them from getting into the water. The pieces are small enough to sneak through treatment plants and once they're in, there's also no way to get them out.

"The plastics are going to stay in the environment," Rediske siad. "They're not going to break down."

Upton said the bill, if passed, will go into effect Jan. 1, 2018.

"We're going to stop this mad cycle," Rep. Upton said. "We're going to stop it as soon as we can."