NEWS: Rep. Josephson Applauds Approval of Federal Ban on Plastic Microbeads That Endanger Fish and Wildlife

Rep. Josephson Pledges to Continue Efforts to Protect Alaska’s Environment from Damaging Microbeads

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 7, 2016

ANCHORAGE — On Monday, December 28, 2015, President Obama signed into law the “Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015.”  The legislation phases out the use of small plastic microbeads that are often used in cosmetics and personal hygiene products.  Manufacturing of products using microbeads will be phased out by July 1, 2017.  The sale of products containing microbeads will be phased out by July 1, 2018.

“The data and research shows these little plastic microbeads are harmful to the environment because they are small enough to move through many water treatment systems and be ingested by fish and birds,” said Rep. Andy Josephson.  “I am pleased that Congress and the President recognized that harm and passed this important legislation.”

Rep. Josephson is the sponsor of House Bill 14, which seeks to ban the sale of cosmetics in Alaska that contain plastic microbeads effective July 1, 2018.  The bill was introduced during the First Session of the 29th Alaska Legislature and was referred to the House Resources Committee, of which Rep. Josephson is a member.  Rep. Josephson will renew his push for passage of HB 14 during the Second Session of the 29th Alaska Legislature, which begins on January 19, 2015.

“The movement to ban these harmful microbeads started at the state level and I intend to keep pushing for a statewide ban in Alaska despite passage of this important federal legislation,” said Rep. Josephson.  “Our fish and wildlife resources are currently abundant and healthy and I believe it’s important for the Alaska Legislature to follow the example of several other states and Congress and ban the use and sale of microbeads in Alaska.”

A recent scientific study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology reported that an estimated 8 trillion microbeads are released into the environment every day and microplastics have been reported in many lakes and rivers and every major open ocean.  Many cosmetic products include up to 300,000 microbeads, which are less than 5 millimeters in size, non-biodegradable, and nearly impossible to filter out through existing waste water treatment processes. 

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