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Pallone Touts New Law to Ban Microbeads in Cosmetics

January 5, 2016
Press Release

The Congressman and Industry Discuss Pallone’s Bill Signed into Law Last Week

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) held a press conference with Johnson & Johnson on his Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which was signed into law by the President last week.  The legislation will prohibit the manufacture and sale of personal care products that contain plastic microbeads.  These small bits of plastic, used as exfoliants in personal care products, like face wash and toothpaste, can slip through water treatment systems after they are washed down the drain.  As a result, these microbeads often end up in local streams, rivers and larger bodies of water.  The law will ban the manufacturing of personal care products containing plastic microbeads effective July 1, 2017.  Pallone, Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced the bill earlier this year with Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI-06).  At today’s press conference, Pallone and Cathy Salerno, a top scientist for Johnson & Johnson’s personal care products business, discussed the legislation, the future impact of the law, and industry’s support for it.

“It took hard bipartisan work for smooth passage of this bill,” said Congressman Pallone.  “Now that it has become law, our waterways, environment, and ultimately our health, are safe from this little-known but serious threat.  I applaud Johnson & Johnson and the rest of the personal care products industry who supported my legislation and this common-sense solution to eliminating plastic microbead pollution in our waterways.”

Scientists have found evidence of microbeads in numerous bodies of water in the United States, including increasingly in the Great Lakes, the world’s largest source of freshwater.  In addition to contributing to the buildup of plastic pollution in waterways, microbeads can be mistaken by fish and other organisms as food.  If consumed by fish, the chemicals found in synthetic plastic microbeads can then be passed on to other wildlife and humans.