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President Signs Microbead Ban into Law

Jan 06, 2016

By Dean George

President Barack Obama drew a bead on certain toothpaste and body soap products last week when he signed legislation banning the use of microbeads in 2017.

Microbead Ban Begins July 1, 2017

The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 signed into law on December 28th requires manufacturers of toothpaste and soap products to quit using polyethylene microbeads as exfoliants as of July 1, 2017. In December, both the Senate and House passed legislation banning microbeads because they are not biodegradable.

The legislation signed into law by the President will also phase out over-the-counter sales of all products containing microbeads by July 1, 2018.

As previously reported in Dental Wire, environmentalists around the country have been claiming the beads pass through public water filtration systems without disintegrating. They also have said the beads have shown up in fish and wildlife and have become a serious source of “plastic pollution.”

In October California became the 10th state to ban microbeads after studies showed the beads bubbling up throughout the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean.

That legislation signed by California Governor Jerry Brown gave manufacturers Proctor & Gamble® and Johnson & Johnson® until 2020 to remove microbeads from all their toothpaste products. But don’t worry, ‘bead’ happy - both companies had already announced they’d planned to have all microbeads removed from their products by 2017, and Colgate-Palmolive® stopped using microbeads in 2014.

The federal law signed December 28th will override state laws requiring microbeads be phased out over different time periods.

As previously written, toothpaste manufacturers originally introduced the microbeads as a small astringent to help scrub teeth, but some dental hygienists and dentists had noticed the tiny blue dots could occasionally embed themselves in patients’ gums, causing mouth pain in some instances.

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Copyright 2016, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC

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