ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York could become the first state in the nation to outlaw the sale of cosmetic products containing tiny plastic scrubbing beads that have been accumulating by the tens of millions in the Great Lakes.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman proposed the legislation to be introduced on Tuesday. He says the plastic particles can persist in the environment for centuries and accumulate toxic chemicals that could enter the food chain if marine creatures ingest them.
He said microbeads are commonly found in more than 100 products, including facial scrubs, soaps and toothpaste. Because they're so small and buoyant, the beads float out of sewage treatment plants into rivers.
Three leading cosmetic companies — Proctor and Gamble, Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive — have made commitments to phase out use of microbeads.