- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 28, 2014

OSWEGO, N.Y. (AP) - U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for a ban on plastic microbeads in personal care products.

Gillibrand is urging Congress to pass new legislation after recent reports of up to 1.1 million plastic particles per square kilometer turned up in Lake Ontario, the highest in the Great Lakes.

Microbeads are found in items such as facial scrubs, body washes, hand cleansers, and toothpaste. They’re designed to be rinsed down the drain, but are too small to be captured by wastewater treatment plants and make their way to large bodies of water, where they concentrate toxins and can be ingested by birds and fish. That poses serious environmental and health risks.

State officials say up to 19 tons of plastic microbeads wash down drains each year and into New York’s waterways.

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