Protect Marine Life from Microbead Pollution

Target: Dennis F. Virtuoso, Minority Leader and 6th District Legislator of Niagara County

Goal: Save water quality and aquatic wildlife from plastic microbeads.

Waterways and marine life suffer from microbead contamination caused by the use of personal cosmetic products that contain these plastic microbeads. Products such as toothpastes, body washes, moisturizers, and cleansers contain plastic beads that are used as an abrasive exfoliant. When these beads are washed down the drain, they make their way into waterways because many water treatments plants do not have a filtering method to catch these tiny plastic pollutants. We must speak up now to stop the selling and use of these products that contain these dangerous microbeads.

In Niagara County, New York, four legislators are working together to sponsor a measure to ban microbeads in the county. If approved and put into law, the sale of products containing microbeads will be illegal and any store found selling the products will be faced with a fine of $2,500 for a first offense and then $5,000 per day after that. Two other counties in New York have passed similar legislation to protect New York’s waterways and, hopefully, this county will do the same.

Banning products with microbeads is a lot cheaper than upgrading water treatment plants with advanced filter systems to catch miniscule particles. There are also non-plastic alternatives to use for those of us that live in an area where microbeads are still being sold. Look for products with sugar, oatmeal, charcoal, or pumice instead.

Although microbeads are small, they create a huge impact on water and marine life. Scientists from New York University had exposed the harsh fact that nearly 80,000 microbeads escape water treatment plants every day per facility. These microbeads are then released into lakes, rivers, and streams and ingested by marine life, especially fish. The size of the microbeads are a cause for alarm. Since they have a large surface area relative to their mass, contaminants cling onto the microbeads and end up making their way into the food chain.

By signing this petition, you are supporting Minority Leader and 6th District Legislator of Niagara County, Dennis Virtuoso, and his ban on microbeads in Niagara County, New York.


Dear Minority Leader Virtuoso,

I support your efforts to ban microbeads in Niagara County, New York. Microbeads pollute our waterways and affect the food chain of aquatic life. There are safe and biodegradable alternatives that could be added to toothpastes, moisturiziers, cleansers, and body washes to get the same effect that microbeads have in these products.

Since microbeads are minuscule plastic beads, these tiny pollutants make their way into our waterways because water treatment plants do not always have a filter system required to catch all of these plastic bits. According to researchers at New York University, 80,000 microbeads are released into rivers, lakes, and streams every day at every water facility. Other contaminants end up accumulating on microbeads, introducing the contaminant to the food chain once the microbead is ingested by fish and other marine life.

I am urging you to continue to work toward banning microbeads in Niagara County. I support your measure to ban these tiny plastic pollutants for the health of our aquatic life and water quality.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Paul Nettles

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One Comment

  1. Its sad we have to go through lengths just to save our environment, as if it isn’t the driving force behind our lives.

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