Connecticut Bans Plastic Microbeads in Cosmetics

Companies will have three years to phase out the use of plastic microbeads from their cosmetic products in Connecticut following a state ban (HB 5286) on microbeads passed by the General Assembly.

State Representative Terry Backer (D-Stratford) played a main role in both chambers of the General Assembly passing the ban on plastic microbeads used in personal care products like soaps, cleansers and toothpaste. The ban would not affect prescription drug medicines.

“Plastic microbeads are showing up in fish in our food chain. They absorb toxins and pose a risk to human health,” said Backer. “Tons of plastic beads are currently being flooded into our water courses resulting in millions of unnecessary particles.”

As of this report, New Jersey, Illinois, Wisconsin, Maine and Colorado already have bans on non-biodegradable microbeads, with other states with bills in process such as California and New York, which await state Senate action.

“We’re giving the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) the responsibility to test any microbead the industry puts forth as potentially biodegradable, that could potentially circumvent this ban,” said Backer. “We’re one of the only states to disallow biodegradable plastics, which have questionable existence at best. The onus is on manufacturers to prove they would do no harm.”

Alternatives to plastic microbeads include crushed nut shells used in cosmetics.

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