Maryland House Bill 216 (Hearing February 18) and Senate Bill 200 (Hearing February 24), favorable with amendments
Update as of April 15th: HB 216 passed the House! The ban applies to all microbeads made of traditional plastic as well as any so-called biodegradable plastics that cannot biodegrade in wastewater treatment and marine environments. Products on store shelves will start changing in 2018, with all plastic microbeads off the shelves by the end of 2019. At this time, this law is the strongest ban in the country!
Update as of March 16th: The Microbeads bill has passed through the Senate as a very strong bill, in fact, it is one of the strongest microbeads bill in the country. At this time, the House will consider a similar bill, but mostly behind closed door committee sessions. Any updates will be posted here as soon as IPC is aware of them.
Many commonly used personal care products contain tiny plastic exfoliating beads that are harmful to our environment? These particles known as microbeads are so small that they go down the drain and slip through water treatment plants. Since they are plastic, they never truly biodegrade and can be mistaken for food by marine life. Facial cleansers, hand scrubs, and toothpastes commonly contain microbeads.
In water, microplastics readily adsorb pollutants such as DDT and PCBs. When adsorbed into the plastic, these carcinogens can be inadvertently consumed by fish, and end up in our food chain. An excellent video produced by National Geographic summarizes the mobility of pollutants up the food chain through plastic waste: Are you eating plastic for dinner? Natural alternatives to polyethylene microbeads include salt crystals or micro-shells.
No one intends to pollute the Chesapeake Bay, or our streams, or our rivers. And few of us are so callous as to dismiss or disown the harm we cause. Yet all of us, harm our shared waterways simply by living the way we do. Without realizing what we’re doing, microbeads contained in the products we purchase are causing harm. IPC supports legislation that bans the sale of products that degrades waterways, particularly when consumers aren’t even aware that they are contributing to the problem. If not for our own health, for the health of the voiceless species and inhabitants of our waterways – the Creation that has been entrusted to our care. Who will speak out on behalf of the voiceless Creation?
To express your support for this bill, we encouarge you to call or write your legislator. You can find your legislator here.
To follow this bill more closely, you may wish to connect with Trash Free Maryland Coalition.