(TRENTON) – In an effort to protect the health of residents across New Jersey, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, Carol Murphy and Gordon Johnson prohibiting the manufacture, sale and promotion of all consumer products containing plastic microbeads cleared the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee Monday.
“We already know that microbeads currently contained in hundreds of consumer products, most notably in personal hygiene products, will have a long-term negative impact on the health of our environment, said Conaway (D-Burlington). “The long-term impact of these microbeads on our health is still unknown. Microbeads are present in our waterways, and often make their way into our drinking water.”
The bill (A-5011) expands the current State prohibition on the manufacture, sale and promotion of microbeads in personal care items to include all consumer products.
“Although microbeads are effective abrasive agents, they end up in our water sources and enter the food chain, which may be incredibly dangerous for our health,” said Murphy (D-Burlington). “We can’t allow our children to be exposed to the potential dangers of unwillingly ingesting microbeads.”
Once in the water, microbeads bio-accumulate, meaning they are often mistaken for food by zooplankton, which are then consumed by larger species such as fish, mussels and oysters, and ultimately by humans.
“It is in the interest of all New Jerseyans to do everything we can to eliminate microbeads from our environment,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “Microbeads create a real threat to the health of our environment, and ultimately the health of our residents. Now, knowing the dangers of microbeads, it is clear that we should ensure that they no longer are contained in any consumer products.”
The bill now heads to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.