UPDATE: Microbead ban signed by President Obama

UPDATED Thursday, December 31, 2015---1:31 p.m.

(CNN)---Those tiny plastic microbeads you have been rubbing on your face are now outlawed in the United States.

President Obama signed a bipartisan bill that prohibits selling and distributing products containing microbeads. The bill is intended to protect the nation's waterways.

A microbead is any solid plastic particle that is less than 5 millimeters and is used for the purpose of exfoliating or cleansing, according to the bill.

These tiny plastic beads have become ubiquitous in hundreds of products ranging from body scrubs to toothpastes. They provide an exfoliating sensation for users and are designed to wash down drains.

But because they are made of plastic, microbeads do not dissolve and may pose a threat to the environment.

In September, a study published in Environmental Science & Technology reported that more than 8 trillion microbeads were entering the country's aquatic habitats daily. The volume was enough to coat the surface of 300 tennis courts every day.

Microbeads have contributed to a greater increase in microplastic polluting the planet's oceans and lakes, researchers say.

Not only are they hard to clean up because they are about the size of a pinhead, researchers say they are also posing a threat to aquatic life.

Some marine life mistake small plastic as food particles. Scientists are researching whether microplastics affect the health of marine life once ingested and if chemicals transfer to humans who eat those species later, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Copyright 2015: CNN

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UPDATED: Tuesday, May 26, 2015 --- 1:58 p.m.

DETROIT (AP) -- Two Michigan lawmakers say they and other members of Congress are sponsoring bipartisan legislation to protect the Great Lakes from the damaging effects of plastic microbeads found in some soaps and personal care products.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Rep. Gary Peters announced the measures Tuesday to phase out microbeads in household products.

The Michigan Democrats say the small plastic beads aren't biodegradable and can make it through wastewater treatment systems. They say fish can mistake the beads for food.

Backers of related bills in both chambers of Congress include Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, Republican Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan and Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey.

Copyright: Associated Press 2015
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UPDATED Tuesday, April 14, 2015---3:06 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin lawmakers have approved a bill that would ban microbeads, the plastic exfoliant in soap, toothpaste and other personal care products.

The state Assembly passed the bill Tuesday on a voice vote. The Senate passed the measure last month. The bill now moves to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.

Scientists recently discovered that microbeads are flowing by the billions from wastewater plants into the Great Lakes and other water bodies. Manufacturers have already started substituting microbeads with natural substances including ground-up fruit pits, oatmeal and sea salt.

The bill would ban making personal care products containing microbeads starting in 2018 and disallow sales of products with microbeads starting in 2019.

Gary Hebl, a Sun Prairie Democrat, said he supports the measure but wished it laid out a shorter timeframe.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, April 14, 2015---8:39 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin lawmakers are set to consider a bill that would ban microbeads, the plastic exfoliant in soap, toothpaste and other personal care products.

The state Assembly is scheduled to take up the bill on Tuesday. The Senate passed the measure last month. Assembly approval would send the bill on to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.

Scientists recently discovered that microbeads are flowing by the billions from wastewater plants into the Great Lakes and other water bodies. Manufacturers have already started substituting microbeads with natural substances including ground-up fruit pits, oatmeal and sea salt.

The bill would ban making personal care products containing microbeads starting in 2018 and disallow sales of products with microbeads starting in 2019.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Tuesday, March 17, 2015----1:41 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin is joining the nationwide push to ban a key plastic exfoliant in soap, toothpaste and other personal care products out of fear it's leading to water pollution.

The state Senate on Tuesday passed a bill banning the tiny bits of plastic known as microbeads. They are typically found in facial scrubs and toothpaste.

Scientists recently discovered that the particles are flowing by the billions from wastewater treatment plants into the Great Lakes and other water systems.

Major manufacturers have already started substituting microbeads with natural substances including ground-up fruit pits, oatmeal and sea salt.

The bill passed Tuesday on a voice vote would prohibit making personal care products containing microbeads starting in 2018 and disallow selling them starting in 2019.

New York and Illinois already have bans in place.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Tuesday, March 17, 2015----8:39 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The nationwide push to ban a key plastic exfoliant in soap, toothpaste and other personal care products out of fear it's leading to water pollution is coming to Wisconsin.

The tiny bits of plastic known as microbeads are typically found in facial scrubs and toothpaste.

Scientists recently discovered that the particles are flowing by the billions from wastewater treatment plants into the Great Lakes and other water systems.

Major manufacturers have already started substituting microbeads with natural substances such as ground-up fruit pits, oatmeal and sea salt.

The bill up for a vote Tuesday in the Wisconsin state Senate has bipartisan support. It would prohibit making personal care products containing microbeads starting in 2018 and disallow selling them starting in 2019.

New York and Illinois already have bans in place.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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Posted Thursday, March 5, 2015---11:43 a.m.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- An Indiana Senate committee unanimously passed a bill that would ban the sale and manufacture of popular toiletries and cosmetics containing tiny plastic particles that environmentalists say are polluting water resources.

The particles known as microbeads are typically found in facial scrubs and toothpastes. Scientists recently found that anywhere from 1,500 to 1.1 million microbeads per square mile can be found in Great Lakes and they are showing up in fish caught for human consumption.

Senate Commerce and Technology Committee members voted 6-0 Thursday to advance the measure that would gradually phase out the sale and production of cosmetics with microbeads. The House unanimously passed the legislation last month.

There has been little opposition to the bill since large manufacturers have already started substituting microbeads with organic materials.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press