In an effort to protect the environment, Suffolk County legislators unanimously passed a bill on Oct. 6 banning the sale of personal care products containing microbeads, the small plastic particles found in many exfoliating facial scrubs.

The bill was passed in response to growing concerns about damages to the environment caused by the beads, which at less than 5 millimeters in diameter are too small to be filtered out by water treatment systems, causing them to end up in local waterways, carrying toxic chemicals with them.

“The threat posed by microbead waste is of national consequence.” Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn, who sponsored the bill, said in a news release. “We are in need of a solution that will provide for a continuum in microbead policy, but should efforts fail in Albany and Washington, today’s vote puts Suffolk County on the right side of history and nature on this issue.”

Once County Executive Steve Bellone signs the bill, the ban will go into effect in January 2018 for products not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and in January of 2019 for products that are approved by the FDA. This timeline will give manufacturers the opportunity to come up with an alternative to microbeads.

Suffolk will become the fourth county in New York State to enact this type of legislation. A similar bill was proposed by New York state legislators nearly two years ago, but further action has yet to be taken.

Although New York was the first state to propose such a bill, nine other states have already  banned microbeads. Another such bill was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives in March, but is still being deliberated by Congress.”



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