Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, announced the House of Representatives approved H.R. 1321, a bill that prohibits the sale or distribution of cosmetics containing synthetic plastic microbeads. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is leading on a similar bill in the Senate.
"Microbeads rinsed down the drain are polluting our water and transporting toxic pollutants that wildlife and humans ingest," said Higgins, a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force. "Western New York understands the value of clean water to our community and led the way on this effort. We are pleased to support this and see it broadened nationwide."
In May of 2014 Higgins joined New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and local advocates in reporting on the harm microbeads cause to the Great Lakes and calling for a ban on products containing microbeads. This year, Erie County approved legislation introduced by Legislator Patrick Burke, making the region the first in the nation to prohibit microbeads in cosmetics.
The House bill amends the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to ban the manufacturing of microbeads beginning in July of 2017. A ban on manufacturing over-the-counter drugs and on the sale of cosmetics containing microbeads would begin in July 2018. The ban on sales of over-the-counter drugs containing microbeads would begin in July 2019.