Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman Monday released a report saying the microbeads – a harmful form of plastic pollution – showed up in the effluent of 25 of 34 wastewater treatment plants studied. Many of those plants empty directly or indirectly into the Great Lakes and Finger Lakes.
Microbeads used in products such as facial scrubs and hand cleaners can wash into bodies of water, where they can be ingested by birds and fish.
Schneiderman said the study shows that waste water treatment plants aren’t screening out the microbeads and that the only way to halt microbead pollution is to eliminate them in products.
Schneiderman last year proposed legislation, the Microbead-Free Waters Act, that would ban the sale of personal cosmetic products containing with microbeads less than 5 millimeters. Versions of the bill are before both the Assembly and Senate.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has also called for federal legislation to list microbeads as contaminants in the Great Lakes.