New York: Campaign Against Microbead Pollution in the Great Lakes

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition works closely with several member organizations in five targeted states to achieve our goal of restoring the Great Lakes. The work our member organizations do in the field is the backbone of our campaign – it amplifies our impact throughout the Great Lakes region. We’ll be collecting stories from the fieldwork being implemented by our member organizations and posting about them periodically. Our latest update comes from Citizens Campaign for the Environment in New York.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) talks about the threat to the Great Lakes from microbeads. Photo courtesy of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) talks about the threat to the Great Lakes from microbeads. Photo courtesy of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

Citizens Campaign for the Environment recently stood with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on the shores of Lake Erie, calling for a federal ban on plastic microbeads in personal care products.  Tiny plastic microbeads, which are found in products such as toothpastes, facial scrubs, and soaps, are being found polluting the Great Lakes.  The microbeads are entering the lakes through sewage overflows and are so small that they can pass through sewage treatment.  Studies have shown that as many as 1.1 million plastic microbeads have been found in just one square kilometer in Lake Ontario.  Once in the water, microbeads, like other plastics, can attract and absorb toxic chemicals. Scientific studies have shown that fish and wildlife of all sizes consume plastic and that the chemicals can be passed up the food chain to larger fish, wildlife, and ultimately humans.  Senator Gillibrand pointed out that safe, cost-effective alternatives to plastic microbeads are already on the market.

Check out our full list of field updates from other states and organizations here.

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