Oct 9, 2015

Last week, the Governor signed AB 888, a bill that bans microplastic beads in personal care products. Companies have until 2020 to phase out the use of these "microbeads." California now has strongest state law in the nation on this issue. 

SFEI science played a key role in informing policymakers about microbeads and microplastic pollution. Media stories on a Regional Monitoring Program study of microplastics in San Francisco Bay water and treated wastewater broadcast the latest findings to a wide audience. The study indicated that our Bay had higher levels of microplastic pollution than the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay. Clearly identifiable microbeads derived from personal care products were detected at all nine sites examined in San Francisco Bay.

Both the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle printed op-eds citing the SFEI report and other sources and urging the governor to sign the microbead ban bill.

SFEI is poised to undertake further studies of microplastics in the Bay. We seek to establish baseline data, determine the effectiveness of the microbead ban, and inform further efforts to reduce microplastic pollution.

Frank Maccioli
Associated Staff: 
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Clean Water Program
Contaminants of Emerging Concern