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President Obama Signs into Law the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015

January 14, 2016

UNITED STATES - The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 (H.R.1321), passed by the U.S. Senate December 18, 2015, was signed by President Obama and became Public Law No. 114-114 on December 28, 2015. Plastic microbeads, which are commonly found in personal care products, are synthetic plastics with diameters (5 mm) too small to be removed during waste treatment. The plastic microbeads ultimately make their way into bodies of water, decreasing water quality and posing a possible risk to wildlife health.
The Microbead-Free Waters Act will supersede the nine states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, and Wisconsin) that have already passed similar laws banning microbeads and will go into effect in accordance with this timeframe:

  • July 1, 2017 - Manufacturing cosmetic products containing plastic microbeads prohibited
  • July 1, 2018 - Sale of beauty products containing plastic microbeads prohibited and manufacturing of rinse-off over-the-counter (OTC) products containing microbeads prohibited
  • July 1, 2019 - Sale of rinse-off OTC products containing plastic microbeads banned