Senate votes to ban microbeads in soap

By:  Lydia Wheeler
The Hill

The Senate has approved legislation to ban plastic microbeads from bath products like soaps and body washes.

The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 passed by unanimous consent Wednesday morning, almost two weeks after the bill sailed through the House.

The legislation, now headed to the president’s desk, aims to protect the nation's lakes and streams from getting clogged with the little pieces of plastic that easily pass through water filtration systems.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who applauded the Senate for passing the bill introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), said an estimated eight trillion tiny plastic microbeads have entered the country’s waterways, threatening aquatic life.

“For much of Connecticut, that means they end up in the Long Island Sound, which is critical to Connecticut’s economy and our way of life," he said in a news release. “As I said before, this is a national problem that Connecticut can’t solve alone.”

Murphy credited state Rep. Terry Backer (D), who died earlier this week, for his part in Wednesday’s victory.

“I cannot help but feel deep regret that Terry Backer, a close friend and mentor, isn’t around to celebrate this victory," he said. "I wouldn’t have fought for this issue so hard without his fierce advocacy in Connecticut, and he deserves credit for the state ban and for raising awareness of this across the country.”