- President Obama approved and signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which completely bans the manufacturing or sale of personal-care products and cosmetics which include plastic microbeads. The aim of the new law is to protect the nation's waterways from plastic pollution.
- Microbeads are defined as "any solid plastic particle that is less than 5 millimeters in size," according to the bill. These plastic particles — which easily enter water streams and are nearly impossible to dissolve — had been polluting many beloved bodies of water including the Great Lakes.
- The law banning the manufacturing of such products will go into effect on July 1, 2017. Sales of products containing the microbeads will be prohibited as of July 1, 2019.
“We commend leaders in Congress and the president for working together on the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015," stated the American Chemistry Council in a press release. "This new law reflects national product stewardship efforts by the personal care industry to phase out the use of solid plastic microbeads used in personal care exfoliating products."
Lezlee Westine, President and CEO of the Personal Care Products Council, also commended the passage of the bill by stating, "The industry is proud to be a part of that process and is prepared to fully phase out solid plastic microbeads in personal cleansing products by July 1, 2017."
The International Campaign Against Microbeads in Cosmetics has compiled a list of nearly 100 products that will eventually need to remove microbeads, including products from Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Rite Aid.
Now that the law will be recognized nationally, the federal bill voids any existing legislation in states that have already enacted microbead bans, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. These state laws call for a slower timeline and leave loopholes, according to Plastics News.
Obama did not issue any remarks about the ban, however the plastics industry has shown great support for the decision.