Missouri bill would ban microbeads in personal care products

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Experts say the small plastic beads used in exfoliating soaps are tough to break down and never really leave the ecosystem. (KCTV)

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Some lawmakers want to eliminate microbeads from soaps and scrubs across the country after research shows they could be hurting the environment.

Experts say the small plastic beads used in exfoliating soaps are tough to break down and never really leave the ecosystem.

“I don’t that the people who put them in the scrubs have any idea what happens next,” said Joel Sendra with Kansas City Water Services.

Sendra said microbeads hauled off to landfills can still end up in rivers, lakes and streams and are consumed by livestock and fish.

Some particles are so small, Sendra believes they could be in our water supply.

“They disinfect, completely, but that doesn’t mean the microbeads aren’t there. I understand they’re at a nano-level,” Sendra said. “So we’re drinking microbeads.”

Some U.S. Democrats have composed a bill to ban microbeads from store shelves, in light of a report finding an estimated 1,500 to 1.1 million microbeads for each square mile in the Great Lakes.

The bill is backed by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, and some metro parents agree with the legislation.

“Little balls of plastic hanging out in the environment doesn’t seem like a good thing,” Leewood mother Mary Beth Patry said.

If the bill passes, companies would reportedly have to remove microbeads from its products by January 2018.

By Chris Oberholtz