News and Events Involving Environmental Law, Published by Chicago Environmental Attorney Dave Scriven-Young
of Peckar & Abramson, P.C. -- (312) 881-6309

Illinois Places Future Ban on Manufacture and Sale of Products Containing Synthetic Plastic Microbeads

On June 8, 2014, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill into law that places a future ban on the manufacture and sale of products containing synthetic plastic microbeads.  Public Act 098-0638 amends the Environmental Protection Act to add Section 52.5, which now contains the ban on microbeads, the plastic bits found in personal care products (such as facial cleansers, shampoos, and toothpastes) used to exfoliate or cleanse in a rinse-off product.  According to the new law, the legislature put the ban in place due to impacts to Illinois’ waters:

“Microbeads have been documented to collect harmful pollutants already present in the environment and harm fish and other aquatic organisms that form the base of the aquatic food chain.  Recently, microbeads have been recorded in Illinois water bodies, and in particular, the waters of Lake Michigan. . . . Without significant and costly improvements to the majority of the State’s sewage treatment facilities, microbeads contained in products will continue to pollute Illinois’ waters and hinder the recent substantial economic investments in redeveloping Illinois waterfronts and the ongoing efforts to restore the State’s lakes and rivers and recreational and commercial fisheries.”

According to a press release issued by the Governor’s office, Illinois became the first state to ban microbeads: “Banning microbeads will help ensure clean waters across Illinois and set an example for our nation to follow.  Lake Michigan and the many rivers and lakes across our state are among our most important natural resources. We must do everything necessary to safeguard them.”

The new law provides for a future ban, which prohibits the manufacture of products containing microbeads by the end of 2018 and the sale of those products by the end of 2019:

–Effective December 31, 2017, the law will ban the manufacture of personal care products containing microbeads;

–Effective December 31, 2018, the law will ban the sale of personal care products containing microbeads;

–Effective December 31, 2018, the law will ban the manufacture of over-the-counter drugs containing microbeads; and

–Effective December 31, 2019, the law will ban the sale of over-the-counter drugs containing microbeads.

Any person violating the microbead ban will be subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for the first violation and up to $2,500 for a second and subsequent violation.

Question for You

In the comment area below, please tell me what you think: Will the ban on microbeads impact the products you use on a daily basis?  If so, how?


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