Save The River applauds Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman for reintroducing the Microbead-Free Waters Act again putting New York State in line to lead the effort to stop the use of microbeads in consumer products.
These tiny man-made plastic particles found in many over the counter consumer products, like exfoliants and toothpaste, attract and accumulate toxins from our waterways that are then transferred to fish and potentially humans. Research has shown there are surprising concentrations of microbeads in each of the Great Lakes, with very high levels in the New York waters of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
“The St. Lawrence River has some of the highest concentrations of microbead pollution of any of New York’s waterways,” said Lee Willbanks, Executive Director of Save The River. “Save The River supports the Microbeads-Free Waters Act as the most effective way to remove this bio-accumulating threat to the health of the river and the species and communities that depend on it. Its quick passage into law will set the example for other Great Lakes states to follow.”
Attendees at Save The River’s 2014 Winter Environmental Conference, held last February, heard from Dr. Sherri Mason, a SUNY Fredonia researcher whose groundbreaking work was instrumental in bringing this emerging threat to light. At its most recent Winter Environmental Conference attendees received an update from the office of the NYS Attorney General.
Save The River and environmental groups around the state are supporting the Microbeads-Free Waters Act and hope that the ban on products containing these harmful pollutants will be approved this year.
“I commend the Attorney General for taking action and introducing the Microbead-Free Waters Act. Over the past three summers, we have been sampling the Great Lakes to more thoroughly understand the scope of plastic pollution in freshwater systems,” said Dr. Sherri Mason, Professor of Chemistry at SUNY Fredonia. “Our results have confirmed that high concentrations of microbeads were collected in New York’s waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and that these beads are making their way through the wastewater treatment plant process. The proposed bill will strike at the source of this serious problem.”
“As part of the larger effort to reduce plastic pollution and marine debris in the Great Lakes, the Alliance for the Great Lakes applauds the Office of the Attorney General in New York for putting forth this legislation,” said Alliance for the Great Lakes President and CEO Joel Brammeier. “With many readily available alternatives, microbeads in personal care products are unnecessary and do not belong in our Great Lakes.”
Brian Smith, of Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE), said, “Plastic microbeads accumulate toxic chemicals and are consumed by fish and wildlife. These contaminants are unnecessarily polluting New York’s treasured waters and threatening public health. Having a pretty face doesn’t have to mean polluted water—safe alternatives to plastic are already on the market. CCE commends Attorney General Schneiderman for his leadership to protect the health of all New York waters by proactively addressing this emerging threat.”
Consumers can do their part by not using products that contain microbeads to help eliminate them from entering into waterways. Products that list polyethylene or polypropylene as ingredients should be avoided. More information on products containing microbeads can be found at: http://www.beatthemicrobead.org/en/in-short