Capitol Alert

California ban on microbeads in cosmetics advances

Researcher Chelsea Rochman holds a dollop of commercially available facial scrub containing microbeads in her lab at UC Davis in Davis on Wednesday, April 15, 2015.
Researcher Chelsea Rochman holds a dollop of commercially available facial scrub containing microbeads in her lab at UC Davis in Davis on Wednesday, April 15, 2015. rbenton@sacbee.com

The Assembly on Friday passed a bill to bar California retailers from selling products containing tiny plastic beads which currently are embedded in many exfoliating creams and scrubs.

Microbeads have gained attention as a significant source of pollution as they have appeared in the bodies of fish and other wildlife that ingest the orbs after they have flowed down drains and into lakes, rivers and oceans. Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, said phasing out the beads makes more sense than having cities install costly filters to catch them.

“The best way to stop plastic pollution is at the source,” Bloom said.

Assembly bill 888 would prohibit the sale of microbead-containing products beginning in 2020. An organization representing the cosmetics industry adopted a neutral position after amendments clarifying what types of products would be covered. The legislation covers toothpaste and products with biodegradable plastic beads, including some soaps and facial scrubs.

A similar bill died in the Senate last year. No Assembly members spoke against the measure, though 12 Republicans voted no.

Jeremy B. White: (916) 326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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