Monday, December 28, 2015

A Bit of Bipartisan Good Cheer

What do you know,  sometimes Congress works:
A bill to protect the environment was introduced in the House in March. In early December, the House passed the bill. A week later, the Senate passed it as well, without changing a word and by unanimous consent, just before Congress left town on Friday.

That is the strangely charmed life of the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which sailed through Congress in an age when most legislation plods. The new law bans tiny beads of plastic that have been commonly added as abrasives to beauty and health products like exfoliating facial scrubs and toothpaste.

Under the law, companies will have to stop using beads in their products by July 2017.
As the Times notes, one reason this bill sailed through is that several states have already passed bans on microbeads, and the industry decided to support the Federal ban rather than deal with 50 different state laws. Microbeads are not really such a huge threat, but they are hazardous to water-dwelling animals and they just seem like a frill, since they are used mainly in cosmetics and less dangerous alternatives are available.

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