Indiana moved closer Thursday to banning a key exfoliant in
cosmetic products, a crusade gaining traction nationwide to
protect water resources from plastic pollution.
Tiny bits of
plastic known as microbeads are typically found in facial scrubs
and toothpaste. Scientists only recently discovered that the
particles, which are often too small to see with the naked eye,
are flowing by the billions from wastewater treatment plants into
the Great Lakes and other water systems.
and Technology Committee members voted 6-0 to advance the measure,
which would gradually phase out the sale and production of
cosmetics containing microbeads starting in 2017 through the end
New York and
Illinois already have a ban in place and several states are
considering similar legislation this year, including Wisconsin and
measure, which advanced through the House last month, has yet to
receive any opposition, mostly because major manufacturers have
already started substituting microbeads with natural substances
such as ground-up fruit pits, oatmeal and sea salt.
pollution is a recent discovery, found by a research team that
used special nets to drag the surface of all five of the Great
Lakes in 2012 and 2013. Scientists now report that anywhere from
1,500 to 1.1 million microbeads can be found per square mile in
the Great Lakes, making up about 20 percent of the lakes' plastic
different from large plastics in the water. This you can't
see," said bill sponsor Rep. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend.
"The hidden killer you might say."
isn't the only problem. Scientists have found elevated levels of
pathogens linked to cancer and birth defects on the surface of
microbeads, which are now being found in fish caught for human
to stop putting poison in our water because it's the only water we
have," Bauer said.
The proposal will
now advance to the full Senate for consideration.