Microbead ban? Group says they impact waterways, wildlife

April 16, 2014 (CHICAGO)

"It's a big impact on wildlife and water quality. Could certainly have an impact on humans, as well," Jared Teutsch, Alliance for the Great Lakes, said.

Lawmakers and environmentalists want to ban microbeads because, they say, they cause problems for wildlife and waterways. The tiny plastic beads commonly found in facial scrubs listed as the ingredient polyethylene can bypass some filtration systems to end up in the waterways.

Some companies that make products with microbeads have apparently jumped on board with the proposed ban even though it might be costly because they admit it could be even more expensive to keep putting these microbeads into the ecosystem.

"Our industry shares a common interest in protecting the environment," Karin Ross, Personal Care Products Council, said.

"There's gonna be some effort that has to be put into it, and clearly, it's going to cost them some money," Mark Biel, Chemical Industry Council, said.

Other states are working on legislation that would ban the use of microbeads, but Illinois could be the first to pass it. A bill that passed the Illinois Senate would ban the manufacture of products using microbeads by 2017 and ban distribution by 2018.

"The industry was willing to come to the table because there are natural alternatives," State Senator Heather Steans, 7thDistrict, said.

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