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State lawmaker introduces bill to double up ban on microbeads

Microbeads on a penny.
Courtesy of The 5 Gyres Institute

A new bill (HB 4819) in the state Legislature would ban the manufacturing and sale of personal care products with microbeads. The small plastic beads are already banned in some products at the federal level.

State Representative Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia) says it’s important for Michigan’s waterways that microbeads are kept out. According to the FDA, the small plastic pieces that are washed down drains can end up in lakes and oceans. When that happens, they can be mistaken for food by wildlife.

“Their purpose is not as important as the risk that they’re posing by just creating an exorbitant amount of plastic waste that’s just being sent down the drain,” says Pohutsky.

She says she wants to make sure a ban stays put at the state level, even if the federal government repeals the ban.

“Being shackled, essentially, to these federal rules can be very problematic, which is why it’s important to make sure that we’re taking the initiative here at the state level,” she says.

Pohutsky says this would also allow state agencies to step in to enforce the ban instead of only relying on federal agencies. 

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