ERIE.GOV | Your information resource from the government of Erie County, New York


County Executive Elected Officials County Departments Living In Erie County Visiting Erie County Growing your business in Erie County State and regional municipalities

Legislative Vote on Microbead Free Water







 Legislative Vote on Microbead Free Water


This Thursday the Erie County Legislature will have the final vote on the local law banning the sale of cosmetic products containing microbeads, smalls bits of microplastic that make up 90% of the new pollutants found in Lake Erie. This bi-partisan law was introduced by Patrick Burke (D) and is co-sponsored by Chairman John J. Mills (R)
 
Microbeads are tiny plastics often less than a millimeter around, that are added to cosmetics and personal care products, to cleanse or exfoliate. These beads are most commonly made of polyethylene and polystyrene and are found in products including but not limited to; soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and facial cleansers. When these products are used then washed down the drain, they make their way into the Rivers, through the filtration systems and eventually into the Great Lakes. Once in the lakes these tiny plastics collect harmful pollutants already present.
 
Since the release of the Attorney General’s 2014 report advocating for a ban on products containing microbeads the action of the New York State Elected officials has been negligible at best. By creating weak legislation and then abandoning it in committee, the leadership in Albany has made it abundantly clear that they do not consider the preservation of the Great Lakes, or the health and safety of the people of Erie County a top priority.
 
Just as in 1971 with the local law which banned phosphorus, if passed Erie County will again lead the way in pollution control efforts with the most substantive and strongest ban on microbeads in the nation, continuing the long standing traditions of setting the standard in environmental protection.