Assemblymember and former Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) announced Thursday that he has introduced legislation, AB 1699, to ban the sale of personal care products that contain mirco-plastic particle abrasives, commonly referred to as “microbeads,” that are found in products such as facial scrubs, soaps and toothpaste.
“Microbeads are a significant part of the debris accumulating in the Pacific Ocean and are also found at alarming levels in our local waterways,” Bloom said. “We have no choice but to eliminate this pollution at the source. Waiting will only compound the problem and the price of cleaning up.”
Microbeads have emerged as a pervasive form of plastic pollution in the marine environment. Studies have shown that the tiny particles are prevalent in ocean debris piles, the Great Lakes, and recently, the Los Angeles River. Mircobeads are not biodegradable and absorb various toxins such as DDT, PCBs (flame retardants), and other industrial chemicals and are ingested or absorbed by a variety of marine life and other mammals.
Because fish ingest these particles and absorb the toxins in their flesh, many in the scientific community also worry about the impacts on the fish, crabs, and shellfish that humans eat.
“There are natural alternatives in use and others have pledged to move to natural substitutes in the near future. Therefore, there really isn’t a good argument against this law,” Bloom added.