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Federal Ban on Microbeads Signed Into Law!

A federal ban phasing out the manufacture and sale of products containing plastic microbeads has been signed into law by President Obama!

Published December 30, 2015


Effective in 2017, this federal measure will help to curb the amount of microplastics making their way to our lakes, streams and oceans, where they’re ingested by unassuming wildlife.

What are microbeads?

Microbeads are the tiny plastic beads most commonly found in personal care products such as body wash, soap, facial scrub and toothpaste. They are listed on labels as polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate or polymethyl methacrylate. 

Producers often use microbeads in their products because they are cheaper than natural alternatives; however, these plastics beads are generally less effective, causing consumers to have to repurchase more often.

How can I help?

  • Choose products with natural exfoliators like sugar, salt or jojoba.

  • Support companies that have already started to remove microbeads from their product lines! For a list of microbead-free products, click here.

In a coordinated effort with Monterey Bay Aquarium, Shedd Aquarium and other leading aquariums across the nation, the National Aquarium recently sent a letter to President Obama in support of his signature on this piece of legislation. Jointly, aquariums represent millions of members of visitors who care about this issue and support action to protect our ocean from the negative impacts of plastic pollution. 

To learn more about the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, click here.

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