The Erie County Legislature is scheduled to vote Thursday on legislation banning the sale of products containing microbeads in Erie County. The proposed measure is believed to be the strongest ban on microbeads in the nation.
Microbeads are tiny plastic beads, less than a millimeter thick, that are often added to cosmetics as exfoliates, cleansing agents and even some toothpastes. The beads are made of polyethylene or polystyrene.
They're so small, the beads can pass through filters in water treatment plants and enter the water system. Despite their size, microbeads amount to as much as 90% of the new plastic waste in the Great Lakes.
Democratic legislator Patrick Burke says he expects the measure to be approved. Burke is the legislation's sponsor.