Obama signs bill banning environment-threatening microbeads

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Dec. 31, 2015 at 8:06 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama signed a bipartisan bill into law banning microbeads in order to protect the country's waterways.

The bill defines microbeads as any solid plastic particle less than 5 millimeters in diameter used for the purpose of exfoliating and cleansing. The beads became commonplace in hundreds of products, from toothpastes, shower gels and face creams -- offering an exfoliating sensation.

Microbeads do not dissolve, posing a threat to the environment. Congress quickly passed the bill ahead of Obama's signature.

The Environmental Science & Technology group in September published a study that reported more than 8 trillion microbeads were entering the United States' water habitats every day, also endangering aquatic animals.

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