Great Lakes News

Great Lakes News

Illinois Bans Microbeads


Have you ever used a face or body wash that contained tiny plastic beads? They may result in a nice, deep, exfoliated-type clean, but apparently they’re pretty detrimental to the environment.

They’re called “microbeads,” synthetic plastic particles used as an abrasive in many personal-care products, and they’re now being banned from the Great Lakes.

Following up on our recent story about microbeads in Lake Michigan, read our June Issue here), Illinois has become the first state to officially ban microbeads, after Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation into law Sunday, June 8. 

S.B. 2727 bans the manufacture and use of personal care products containing synthetic microbeads. The tiny plastic beads can post long-term pollution problems, as their small size allows them to pass through many water filtration systems. Once microbeads enter the water, they can absorb toxic chemicals, according to the watchdog conservation group Alliance for The Great Lakes, making them harmful to fish that often mistake them for food.

The new law will ban the manufacture of microbeads by 2018 and terminate their sale by the end of 2019.

To read the bill in its entirety, visit

Photo courtesy of Marcus Eriksen