N.Y. Attorney General looks to protect waterways from microbeads
ALBANY, N.Y — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has proposed legislation banning the sale of beauty and cosmetic products that contain plastic microbeads, which he says pose a threat to New York waters.
The Microbead-Free Waters Act, first proposed last year, will prohibit the sale in New York of beauty and cosmetic products that contain the tiny plastic particles that are often marketed as microbeads. Last May, Schneiderman released a report documenting the threat posed by microbeads, and found that 19 tons of microbeads are potentially being discharged into New York’s wastewater stream each year. More recent studies have documented the presence of microbeads in the Finger Lakes and other New York waters as well. According to Schneiderman, the plastic beads can persist in the environment for centuries and accumulate toxic chemicals on their surface, threatening fish, wildlife and public health.
“From the Great Lakes to the Finger Lakes to the Long Island Sound, we have a profound responsibility to restore and protect New York’s waters,” Schneiderman said. “This common-sense legislation will stop the flow of plastic pollution from ill-designed beauty products into our vital waters, preserving our natural heritage for future generations.”
The Microbead-Free Waters Act would prohibit the production, manufacture, distribution and sale in New York of any beauty product, cosmetic or other personal care product containing plastic particles less than 5 millimeters in size. Microbeads are commonly found in more than 100 products, including facial scrubs, soaps, shampoo and toothpaste, where they replace ground walnut shells, sea salt and other natural materials as an abrasive.
The bill was greeted by widespread expressions of support from the environmental advocacy community across New York State.
“When plastic microbeads leach into our water, they attract toxins that harm fish and birds and get passed on to humans,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “We need to protect New Yorkers, our water, and our wildlife from dangerous pollutants and damage caused by microbeads. I am fighting to ban microbeads at the federal level and I support the push Attorney General Scheiderman is leading to ban them in New York State.”
In addition to Schneiderman’s push at the state level, Gillibrand has also introduced legislation to ban microbeads in personal care products nationwide.
When products containing microbeads are used in the home, the beads are rinsed down the drain and into our sewer systems. Because of their small size and buoyancy, microbeads escape treatment by sewage plants and are discharged into rivers, lakes and oceans.
Added New York League of Conservation Voters president Marcia Bystryn, “New York’s lakes and waterways are among our most beloved natural assets. This legislation will not only help protect them for future generations — it will also set an example for other states around the country to address this emerging environmental threat. We thank Attorney General Schneiderman for forging a common-sense, effective strategy to safeguard the natural resources that we all cherish and depend on.”
Several beauty product manufacturers — Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, Proctor and Gamble and Unilever — have made commitments to phase out the use of microbeads in their products. Other companies, such as Burt’s Bees, have never used these plastics in their products. Consumers can determine if their beauty or personal care products contain microbeads by checking the product ingredient list for “polyethylene” or “polypropylene.”
Black Opal urges women to defy beauty stereotypes, myths
NEW YORK — Multicultural beauty brand Black Opal has introduced a new multimedia campaign, called "I Define My Beauty," aimed at empowering, engaging and inspiring women of all complexions to express their individuality and embrace their unique look and defy stereotypes of beauty.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans who are made up of two or more races increased 32% between 2000 and 2010 at a minimum and only continues to rise. Multicultural beauty is now more than a "diversity" catchall; it's an evolution that addresses the multidimensional and multilayered needs of women whose ethnicities and cultures are mixing together, making up today's blended beauty.
"I Define My Beauty is about rejecting the stereotypes and myths that other people put on you. It's a movement to educate women of all complexions, ethnicities and ages to take chances and feel confident — whether they go for subtle mauve or saturated fuchsia, the choice is yours not someone else’s,” said Black Opal artistic director Merrell Hollis.
"I Define My Beauty" kicks off with a video featuring Hollis and other beauty professionals in New York City discussing their own definitions of beauty. The makeup pros tackle myths and stereotypes and discuss how their clients choose self-expression and creativity to make their own personal style statement, instead of relying on old-fashioned notions of beauty do's and don'ts.
Throughout the "I Define My Beauty" campaign, Black Opal will be encouraging women to join in the conversation via social media by following the conversation on Twitter and Instagram @blackopalbeauty and participate by sharing their I Define My Beauty stories using the hashtag #IDefineMyBeauty.