Bill to ban microbeads headed to governor’s office

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Legislation that would prevent the sale of any products containing microbeads in Indiana, is headed to the governor’s office for final approval.

House Bill 1185 defines a “synthetic plastic microbead” as a spherical object that is five millimeters or less in diameter and not biodegradable.

The plastic beads are common in beauty products, including face wash, body wash and toothpaste, and are not filtered out at water-treatment plants due to their miniscule size. Therefore, millions of them make their way into waterways.

“Fish eat them, wildlife eat them, which creates an ecological issue for everyone,” said Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso.

Human safety is also an issue. Sen. Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago, said studies show the microbeads in common toothpastes will stay in the gums of the user and potentially lead to diseases.

Charbonneau said the issue has been on legislative agendas around the country since 2012 and a few states have already passed a similar law.

“If you think about the sheer number of microbeads being washed down the drain daily, it’s quite staggering,” said the bill’s author, Rep. Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, in a written statement.  “Indiana can keep the momentum going to ban and remove harmful products from the market. We might not be the first state to ban microbeads, but we can be the next.”

Pence can sign the bill, veto it, or simply let it pass into law without his signature.

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