Illinois First State to Ban Microbeads, Due in Part to TCG Grant

Posted: 07/07/2014  browse the blog archive
Illinois First State to Ban Microbeads, Due in Part to TCG Grant

Illinois has become the first state to ban microbeads in consumer products, reported the Chicago Tribune last month.   On June 8, Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation to ban the manufacture and sale of personal care products containing synthetic plastic microbeads.  This was due to the tireless efforts of environmental organizations such as the Alliance for the Great Lakes, who earlier this year received a grant from The Chanler Group in order to raise public awareness regarding the environmental impact of microbeads in consumer products and advocate for policy change.

Microbeads are non-biodegradable plastic particles that are used as exfoliants in many facial cleansers and soaps.  The beads can slip through sewage system filters and accumulate in waterways such as rivers and oceans where they harm wildlife.  Fish and other animals can mistake the microbeads for food, raising concern about the impact on aquatic species.  Moreover, because other pollutants are absorbed by the microbeads, they may also have a serious impact on up the food chain.  According to the Tribune, preliminary studies in Lake Michigan have found millions of microbeads. 

The new law prohibits the manufacture of personal care products containing microbeads by the end of 2017 and bans the sale of personal care products and the manufacture of over the counter drugs containing microbeads by the end of 2018. 

At least four other states are considering similar bills.  TCG attorney Rachel Doughty drafted the model legislation for the California bill, which passed the assembly in late May and is now pending in the Senate. 

The Chanler Group represents citizen enforcers who, acting in the public interest, commence actions against businesses offering products for sale in California that contain chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm without first providing the health hazard warning required by Proposition 65. Citizen enforcers bringing Proposition 65 actions in the public interest may obtain a Court Judgment imposing civil penalties, an injunction requiring reformulation of products, and/or provision of health hazard warnings. The Chanler Group has represented citizen enforcers of Proposition 65 for more than twenty years.