Microplastics ban proposed

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, March 6, 2014 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) has introduced AB 1699 banning the sale of microplastics in the state as of January 1, 2016 and imposing a penalty of $2,500 per day for each violation. The bill would require the Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery to administer and implement the provisions and the California Attorney General (AG) to enforce it. This bill also has a “bounty hunter” provision which allows a person to file suit in the public’s interest if the AG or district attorney do not commence timely prosecution and if 60 days have expired since notification of the AG of a violation.

Microplastics are defined as small particles of plastic five millimeters or less in all directions and are commonly used in cleaning and personal care products (toothpaste, hand and body soaps, shampoos, scrubs, exfoliants, for example).

The bill maintains that these particles routinely pass through wastewater treatment systems and do not biodegrade, accumulating in rivers, lakes and seas. It states that these persistent organic compounds attract other pollutants of which many have a deleterious impact on human health or the environment, including DDT, DDE, PCB’s and flame retardants. The author contends that these particles are consumed by fish and the fish by humans.

We understand that most manufacturers recognize that these products either are a problem or are perceived as a problem and have already been taking action to phase out of this raw material. The January 2016 timetable, however, is not realistic and a less aggressive deadline should be considered. 

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