California to phase out microbeads used in soaps, toothpaste

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Thursday requiring California to phase out the use of microscopic exfoliating beads in personal care products sold in the state starting in 2020 to protect fish and wildlife.

The tiny plastic beads found in soap, toothpaste and body washes are so small that they are showing up in the bodies of fish and other wildlife after passing through water filtration systems without disintegrating.

Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, said his bill, AB888, seeks to drastically restrict all use of the non-biodegradable beads, which can contain various toxins.

“AB888 was carefully crafted to avoid any loopholes that would allow for use of potentially harmful substitutes,” Bloom said in a statement Thursday. “This legislation ensures that personal care products will be formulated with environmentally-safe alternatives to protect our waterways and oceans.”

A number of companies are replacing microbeads with natural substances such as ground-up fruit pits.

California lawmakers have attempted similar legislation before, but they met opposition from personal-care product companies. Amendments to the measure this year prompted many business critics to drop their opposition to California joining several other states in eliminating the so-called microbeads.

The microbead ban was one of several pieces of legislation Brown signed Thursday in response to concerns about environmental degredation.

He approved SB185 by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, which will require the state’s two large public pension funds, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, to divest from coal holdings.

And Brown announced signing legislation requiring cities and counties to create a faster process to approve new charging stations, an effort to address a patchwork of regulations throughout the state that have slowed building.

His approval comes a day after he signed aggressive climate change legislation requiring California to get half its electricity from renewable energy sources within 15 years and to double the energy efficiency of existing buildings.

The Democratic governor also signed three oil spill protection bills, months after a pipeline leaked more than 100,000 gallons of crude on the Santa Barbara Coast. The measures call for pipeline operators to use the best spill-control technology, require annual pipeline inspections and require regulators to notify the state Legislature if caustic chemicals are used in a cleanup.

The bills were introduced after the Plains All American Pipeline ruptured underground in May, sending oil onto a beach and into the ocean. The oil spread more than 100 miles.

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of Feb. 19

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Friday, Feb. 23, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Rep. Tom McKay, R-Anchorage, speaks in favor of House Bill 143 on Friday. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House approves relaxed environmental rules for ‘advanced recycling’

Applies to facilities using high heat or chemicals to turn plastic garbage into raw materials.

Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon (right) discusses the Juneau School District’s financial crisis with school board Vice President Emil Mackey (right) and City Attorney Robert Palmer during a meeting Thursday night at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Meetings to comment on Assembly’s proposed $9.6M of help to school district scheduled next two Mondays

Plan includes $4.1 million no-interest loan, picking up “shared costs” this year and next.

A crowd overflows the library at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on Thursday night as school board members meet to select a consolidation option to help resolve the Juneau School District’s budget crisis. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
School district leaders approve putting grades 9-12 at JDHS, 7-8 and HomeBRIDGE at TMHS

Elementary schools will be K-6; Marie Drake, Floyd Dryden to close this fall if plan gets final OK.

Members of the Alaska House of Representatives celebrate the passage of a sweeping education bill on Thursday. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
House passes $680 BSA increase, with other education provisions

Bill now returns to Senate, which must pass it unchanged before it can head to the governor’s desk.

House Minority Leader Calvin Schrage, I-Anchorage, speaks during Thursday night’s floor debate on an education bill. (Screenshot from akl.tv livestream)
House approves $680 BSA increase, extra support for charter schools in education bill

Bill passes by 38-2 vote, Senate expected to concur with changes after days of negotiations.

Most Read