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Microbead ban: Illinois prohibits microbeads in cosmetics, save nature effort

A microbead ban is being put into effect in Illinois which will essentially prohibit microbeads from being used in such products as cosmetics and soap. As the first state to formally make this legislative decision, Illinois hopes that the banning of these microbeads — synthetic plastic particles used in a number of personal care items — will ensure safer, cleaner waters in a new effort to save nature. The Chicago Tribune adds this Sunday, June 9, 2014, that Governor Pat Quinn also hopes other states across the U.S. nation will soon follow suit in limiting the usage of their manufacturing.

A microbeads ban is being put into effect in Illinois
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Pat Quinn, the current Governor of Illinois, officially signed legislation this Sunday afternoon that will institute a microbead ban across the state. This barring of the product will prohibit both the manufacture and potential sale of all soaps and personal care products which hold or utilize synthetic plastic microbeads. The primary reason for this stricture is not to cut costs, but to protect the environment.

“Banning microbeads will help ensure clean waters across Illinois and set an example for our nation to follow,” Quinn said. “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.”

Money MSN News notes that under the rulings of the new law, all microbeads in personal care products will become illegal to produce or sell starting in early 2018, will be banned in the making of over the counter drugs by the start of 2019, and prohibited to be sold in such drugs at the onset of the following year.

A number of environmentalist groups are praising this microbead ban as a needed way to help save nature and protect wildlife. According to the report, these plastic particles commonly used in some soaps and a number of facial cleansers and exfoliants manage to float through the filters of Illinois’ sewer systems. In doing so, the microbeads pile up in major waterways — including our state’s neighboring Lake Michigan — eventually absorbing deadly toxins and killing ecosystems in the water and beyond.

In fact, a recent study that has investigated the number of microbeads currently floating through Illinois’ sewer systems and the waters of Lake Michigan alone are in the many millions. Shares one political figure from Chicago:

“I’m optimistic that we’ve started a nationwide movement to protect not just the Great Lakes, but other bodies of water with high concentrations of microbeads,” said State Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, who co-sponsored the important “save nature” bill.

While Illinois may be the first state to officially sign off on the microbead ban, a number of other U.S. states are already following suit, with New York in particular already having early deadlines for prohibiting these plastic particles for good.

It seems strange to realize that something so small could make such a big difference in our environment, but in numbers, these little plastic bits can (and are) causing quite a bit of damage to our local waters. Finally, concludes the presS release, “those interested consumers who don't want to use such products with the plastic bits like microbeads inside of them should not purchase products that list polyethylene and polypropylene as ingredients.”

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