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.