AG wants to ban the beads

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Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is once again pushing for legislation that would ban the use of tiny plastic particles in cosmetics, facial scrubs, and other personal care items.

Schneiderman announced this morning that he’s resubmitted the Microbead-Free Waters Act to state Assembly and Senate leadership. He first proposed legislation last year, and the Assembly passed it unanimously. The Senate, however, never took up matching legislation.

Researchers have detected the tiny plastic microbeads in all of the Great Lakes, and Lake Ontario appears to have the highest concentration of them. They’ve also found the microbeads in important water bodies across New York, including Cayuga Lake, Oneida Lake, the Erie Canal, and Mohawk River, according to a press release from the AG’s Office.

The microbeads can’t be filtered out by waste water treatment plants, in part because they are so tiny. In the water bodies, they can attract other pollutants, which is a problem since fish mistake them for food. Other animals eat the fish, which passes the pollutants through food webs.

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