Illinois becomes first state to ban ‘microbeads’
In an effort to protect the Great Lakes, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently signed legislation to make Illinois the first state in the nation to ban the manufacture and sale of personal care and skin products containing synthetic plastic microbeads.
“Banning microbeads will help ensure clean waters across Illinois and set an example for our nation to follow,” Governor Quinn told reporters. “Lake Michigan and the many rivers and lakes across our state are among our most important natural resources. We must do everything necessary to safeguard them.”
The new law will ban the manufacture of personal care products containing microbeads by the end of 2017, the sale of personal care products and the manufacture of over-the-counter drugs by the end of 2018, and the sale of over the counter drugs by the end of 2019.
Environmentalists argue that the non-biodegradable plastic particles used in many facial cleansers and soaps enter the sewage system filters and pile up in waterways, where they suck up toxins and harm wildlife. Preliminary studies in Lake Michigan have found millions of microbeads, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.
Johnson & Johnson, Unilever and L’Oreal already have information on their websites explaining their plans for phasing out microbeads from their products and testing for natural alternatives, such as ground seeds or nuts.
A similar ban is under consideration in other states, including New York and California.
According to Dr. Adele Castaldi, a family medicine physician at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., teens especially shouldn’t worry about the absence of microbeads in their soaps or face washes.
“Acne really occurs when bacteria gets trapped in the skin’s oil glands, often because of hormonal changes during puberty,” Dr. Castaldi says. “Washing your face too often can strip the skin’s natural oils, causing it to overcompensate and produce extra oil. Scrubbing is also detrimental. It can irritate the skin and increase inflammation. That means over-washing and scrubbing too hard actually makes acne worse.”
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