Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation banning the manufacture and sale of personal care products containing synthetic plastic “microbeads” - tiny bits of plastic used in personal care products such as facial scrubs and toothpaste.
The new law bans the manufacture of personal care products containing microbeads by the end of 2017, the sale of personal care products containing microbeads and the manufacture of over-the-counter drugs containing microbeads by the end of 2018, and the sale of over-the-counter drugs containing microbeads by the end of 2019.
On June 18, 2014, New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., introduced a similar bill proposing a nationwide ban that would take effect in 2018. Following bans across the United States on the tiny plastic particles in personal care goods, recent pledges from brands in Europe to remove microbeads from products suggests companies are keen to pre-empt any comparable ban on the continent.
Environmentalists have said the non-biodegradable plastic particles used as exfoliants in many facial cleansers and soaps slip through sewage system filters and pile up in waterways, where they suck up toxins and harm wildlife.