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With Concern For Environment, Illinois Bans Microbeads

Researcher Sherri Mason looks for microbeads in a water sample from Lake Michigan. i i

hide captionResearcher Sherri Mason looks for microbeads in a water sample from Lake Michigan.

Cheryl Corley
Researcher Sherri Mason looks for microbeads in a water sample from Lake Michigan.

Researcher Sherri Mason looks for microbeads in a water sample from Lake Michigan.

Cheryl Corley

Illinois became the first state in the union to ban microbeads, the tiny bits of plastic found in consumer products like skin exfoliants and soap.

As NPR's Cheryl Corley reports, environmentalists say that when microbeads wash down the drain, they're usually missed by filtration systems, which means they become food to fish and other wildlife.

Cheryl filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Scientists say after fish and other organisms eat the tiny bits of plastic — usually listed as polyethylene or polypropylene on labels — toxins could be passed on to humans and wildlife.

"Studies have found thousands and even millions of the tiny particles per square kilometer in the Great Lakes.

"The Illinois law bans the manufacture of microbeads in consumer products by the end of 2017. Some companies, like Johnson & Johnson, are already phasing them out in facial cleansers and other products and are testing alternatives."

After signing the legislation, Quinn said Illinois was setting an example for the rest of the country.

"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," he said in a statement.

If you want to know more on the subject, Cheryl reported a more in-depth story back in May.

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