California Bans Exfoliating Microbeads

Mother always said: Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. It’s the #1 rule for young and healthy skin. But a new law in California could soon make this vital beauty regimen a little bit harder.

Under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday, the sale of any product containing exfoliating microbeads will be prohibited in the State of California. The measure, introduced by Assembly Member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), is aimed at protecting the health and wellbeing of precious marine life.

If you aren’t sure what microbeads are, just pop open your toothpaste cap or a bottle of body wash because chances are you’ll find them. The tiny polyethylene particles—usually less than 1mm in size—are commonly used in cosmetics as an exfoliating agent, meant to scrub off dead skin or other debris. But don’t let their small size fool you. Environmentalists say these miniscule particles are menacing, bypassing water treatment plants and eventually polluting our waterways. In fact, scientists began raising the alarm when an unsettling number of the particles began appearing inside the stomachs of fish.

Companies Johnson & Johnson and Proctor and Gamble lobbied for an exemption for biodegradable plastics but were ultimately unsuccessful. The legislation will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Read more about the new law here.

Image Credit: Flickr User hintonshome, via (CC BY-ND 2.0)



Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - 20:41

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