Watch CBS News

Companies Producing Microbead Products Support Legislative Ban

DENVER (CBS4) - Selling products that contain microbeads will soon be illegal in Colorado as Gov. Hickenlooper signed a bill on Friday to phase out them out.

Microbeads are tiny plastic balls used as an exfoliate in personal care products and can be found in almost every bathroom product. They are the scrub in a wash used by all favorite brands.

The problem with microbeads is that they're small enough to bypass filtration processes and end up in rivers and streams.

Environmental groups worry the small plastic beads will pollute rivers and kill fish.

Jennifer Churchill of Colorado Parks & Wildlife explained, "the aquatic invertebrates, which are the little crayfish, the little animals that are sort of between food for fish, those could certainly wind up ingesting these microbeads and that would be problematic for the entire ecosystem."

crawfish in Commerce City
Crawfish in Commerce City

Microbeads will soon be gone, in part because the companies that make products containing them recognize the harm.

"They realized these plastic micobeads are raising havoc with our ecosystem," said State Rep. Dianne Primavera.

The Broomfield Democrat introduced the bill after Johnson & Johnson and Proctor & Gamble, two of the largest companies already selling microbead-laced products, said more needed to be done beyond stopping production.

"I think it needs to be in legislation because if our United States companies are responsible, we take these out, that doesn't mean that foreign companies won't," said Primavera.

microbeads washes
Various body washes that contain microbeads (credit: CBS)

Microbead products will be fully phased out of Colorado in 5 years, and finding them elsewhere will soon become difficult as well, as the products' makers push other states for similar bans.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.