January 4, 2016 – The Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council (PCIC) today applauded President Obama and the U.S. Congress for enacting legislation to eliminate the use of solid plastic microbeads from rinse off personal care products across America. The legislation will help protect Pennsylvania’s marine wildlife and waterways, including Lake Erie.
“PCIC is committed to supporting the overall growth of the industry in Pennsylvania while continuing to lead on the environmental front to support sensible policy initiatives that result in the responsible manufacture and use of chemicals,” Jeff Logan, PCIC president said. “The Council strongly supports the enactment of the microbeads legislation that will help to protect our rivers, lakes, streams and marine biology. Additionally, the uniform phase out of solid plastic microbeads nationwide will create a level playing field that will not hinder the competitiveness of Pennsylvania’s chemical and personal care products industries.”
Microbeads are the very small particles (less than five millimeters) of polyethylene added to many personal care products such as cosmetics, body scrubs and toothpastes to serve as exfoliants and add color and texture to the products. Because the particles are so small, they wash down household drains, travel through wastewater systems, and end up at treatment plants that lack the technology to capture microbeads. The end result is tens of millions of microbeads settling in streams, rivers and lakes, including the waters of Lake Erie.
The new law bans the U.S. manufacture of personal-care products from containing microbeads as of July 1, 2017, and the sale of products containing microbeads, imported or domestic, as of July 1, 2019. The legislation also defines a microbead as any solid plastic particle that is less than five millimeters in size.
PCIC will work closely with its members, the Pennsylvania House and the Pennsylvania Senate Environmental Resources and Energy committees to help the industry prepare for and comply with the phase out of solid plastic microbeads.