NY County Bans Microbeads in Personal Care Items
Suffolk County, N.Y. legislators voted unanimously to ban products that contain microbeads, due to the harm they cause to the environment.
News 12 Long Island reported that the beads are too small to be filtered out by sewage treatment systems and end up in the waterways, where they are consumed by wildlife.
"They act as little, tiny toxic sponges because they absorb pesticides and heavy metals," Adrienne Esposito of Citizens Campaign for the Environment told News 12 Long Island. "Fish eat them, shellfish eat them. Then they end up on our dinner plate."
Suffolk County is the fourth in the state to ban the use of microbeads in personal care items. Companies, such as Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, L'Oreal and The Body Shop have already started phasing out microbeads.
"By the end of the year, there should be almost a dozen [counties to ban microbeads]," Esposito told CBS New York. "The more counties that ban microbeads, the more likely the New York State Legislature will do it next year."
The New York state Senate failed twice to pass statewide legislation banning microbeads this year.
Esposito added that companies can use more environmentally friendly alternatives to microbeads, such as apricot shells, walnut shells, salt crystals or sugar crystals.
"That would be more biodegradable and more environmentally acceptable," she said.