U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) has introduced a bill (H.R. 4895) that would prohibit the sale or distribution of cosmetics and personal care products containing synthetic plastic microbeads. Under the proposal, manufacturers would have until January 1, 2018, to change their products. Pallone noted that substitutes, such as ground walnut husks, pecan shells, cocoa beans, and other biodegradable products are already available on the market. He said, “These tiny plastic particles that are polluting our environment are found in products specifically designed to be washed down shower drains. And many people buying these products are unaware of their damaging effects” in the nation’s waterways. See Rep. Frank Pallone News Release, June 18, 2014.

Meanwhile, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has signed a bill (S.B. 2727) that reportedly makes the state the first in the nation to prohibit the manufacture and sale of microbeads by the end of 2019. He said, “Banning microbeads will help ensure clean waters across Illinois and set an example for our nation to follow. Lake Michigan and the many rivers and lakes across our state are among our most important natural resources. We must do everything necessary to safeguard them.” See Gov. Pat Quinn News Release, June 8, 2014.