Indiana is one of at least seven states to ban a substance found in toothpaste, face soap and other personal items.
Plastic microbeads act as an abrasive to provide scrubbing action. But Tim Maloney with the Hoosier Environmental Council says their tiny size poses a risk to fish and wildlife after they go down the drain.
The beads are so small they slip through wastewater treatment systems, and can absorb the toxins those treatment plants are designed to filter out. Maloney says that poses a danger to fish who swallow the beads, and says that risk can extend up through the food chain.
The House voted unanimously to ban products containing microbeads from the shelves by 2018. The Senate concurred with just five no votes, and Governor Pence signed the bill into law.
Maloney says there needs to be a single piece of federal legislation regulating microbeads.
“A federal approach that’s uniform among all the states but absent of federal approach, which we don’t have right now, is states can certainly prevent the sale of products with microbeads,” Maloney says.
Maloney says some manufacturers are already moving toward substitutes like ground almonds, oatmeal or pumice.