In a few years, your exfoliating soap will have natural abrasives instead of artificial ones. State lawmakers say Illinois soon will ban microbeads, which are little pieces of plastic used in soap, shampoo and facial scrubs. The problem is these get through the sewage treatment process and into rivers and lakes, says Jen Walling of the Illinois Environmental Council. “There’s huge concern that these micro-plastics can be sucking up other toxins (in the water), which are eaten by fish, and these toxins can have another pathway to end up in fish,” she said at a news conference Wednesday in Chicago.
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But environmentalists have prevailed upon most of the industry to stop using them, and the state is legislating a ban. “We’ve got an agreed-to bill now that will in fact ban the manufacture of these by 2017, and the distribution of them in the state by 2018,” said State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), who pushed the bill through the Illinois Senate. It awaits House action. Manufacturers say they’ll use sand or apricot seeds in their exfoliants instead.