Proposal to Ban Plastic Microbeads in NY

microbeads ban in NY by ecokarenMicrobeads are tiny plastic beads used in exfoliating face and body washes in personal care products like lotion and toothpaste. The beads act to gently exfoliate or scrub away dead skin cells.

I fully understand the need for better personal care products that give you improved results but I’m not sure about using plastic beads to exfoliate your skin or your teeth. There are better and natural options, like fine seeds and sugar or salt.

Well, sure enough, I’m not the only one. There have been many concerns raised about the environmental impact of polyethylene microbeads, as I felt. These microscopic beads were found in lakes, rivers, and oceans which prompted my state to propose a ban. Way to go NY! CA followed suit and announced right after NY that it too will move to ban these tiny plastic balls.

Proposal to Ban Plastic Microbeads in NY

According to,

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.

These microbeads have been threatening, not only the marine life, but also our food supply.

And how do they threaten the environment besides the fact that they are made of plastic?

“One small plastic particle can suck up oil drops from cars, pesticides, insecticides, industrial chemicals like PCBs,” Marcus Eriksen, research director of the anti-plastic pollution group 5 Gyres, stated. “All these chemicals that do not mix with water will very happily stick to a particle of plastic.”

These microbeads are bad enough but, “The toxic chemicals that are already in the water tend combine with these plastic beads, so it becomes a toxic stew,” said Paul Gallay of the New York state clean water advocacy group Riverkeeper on

So recently, some personal care manufacturers , like Johnson & Johnson, have made a commitment to remove microbeads.

At the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, we are phasing out and will eliminate the use of polyethylene microbeads in our personal care products. We have stopped developing new products containing polyethylene microbeads and have been conducting environmental safety assessments of other alternatives. … Our goal is to complete the first phase of reformulations by the end of 2015, which represents about half our products sold that contain microbeads

Procter and Gamble, Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive also committed to remove these plastic beads.

Do you know if your face cream or lotion contain microbeads? You can check the ingredient list for “polyethylene” or “polypropylene.”

And call your senator to follow NY and CA, to ban these environmentally disastrous plastic microbeads from personal health and beauty products. You don’t need them so neither do our waters.


  1. Katoy09 says

    My mom had me download this story. She is seeing a dermatologist about a problem on her eyebrow  a pre cancerous .  We have little neck pillows made of micro beads.

  2. Bob_4321 says

    ecokaren Bob_4321  Possibly, but I still don’t like it. It feels too much like manipulation. I want facts, theories, and hypothesis, each appropriately labelled as such. I want the actual text of the studies, not someone’s liberal or conservative take on the study. I want truth and there is damn little of that going around.

  3. says

    Bob_4321  I hear ya Bob. I guess Paul Gallay was trying to paint a “certain” picture that people can understand for the medium that he was quoted in.

  4. Bob_4321 says

    I hate statements like, “The toxic chemicals that are already in the water tend combine with these plastic beads, so it becomes a toxic stew”. 

    Why? It is not because I’m in favor of the unnecessary plastic beads in consumer products. It is because the last two words, “toxic stew” are meaningless scary words intending to incite emotional response rather than rational thoughtfulness. The words have a slight scientific feel to them. Yet they are actually just “fast food, junk science” words. Don’t we deserve better than that?

Leave a comment!