Protect the Great Lakes by outlawing microbeads

A recent News editorial, “State should act to ban microbeads before they do more harm to the Great Lakes,” got it right when it called for a ban on plastic microbeads in personal care products such as facial scrubs, soap and toothpaste.

The New York State attorney general estimates that 19 tons of plastic microbeads go down the drain each year and could be discharged into water bodies throughout the state. Tiny microbeads add up to a big problem for our Great Lakes, which provide drinking water to millions of New Yorkers and support a multibillion-dollar sport fishery.

A pretty face doesn’t have to mean polluted water. Comparable products at comparable prices that don’t use plastic microbeads are readily available in local stores. But we can’t wait for every company out there to drag its feet before phasing microbeads out of its products. Passing a legislative ban is the best way to address the problem in a timely manner.

State Sen. Mark Grisanti serves as chairman of the Environmental Conservation Committee and sponsors the microbead ban legislation. Those of us who depend upon the Great Lakes for drinking water, economic development and our quality of life are counting on him to get the microbead ban across the finish line in the State Senate this year.

Lori McPhail