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B.C. MLA wants microbeads banned

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver

Some say microbeads used in bath products don't dissolve. (FILE PHOTO)

Some say microbeads used in bath products don't dissolve. (FILE PHOTO)

The province should dissolve the use of microbeads used in soaps and other products, according to BC NDP critic for environment Spencer Chandra Herbert.

The beads, small plastic balls in soaps and toothpaste among other products, don’t disintegrate and end up the ocean where they can be consumed by sea life, Chandra Herbert said.

The U.S. state of Illinois has already banned the beads and New York is considering similar action. Now Chandra Herbert wants B.C. to do the same.

“People argue they’re good for getting yourself clean,” he said. “But what people don’t know is that they wash down the sink, down the drain, through the filtration plants and into the ocean.”

It’s there they end up being sucked in by shellfish or eaten by other creatures and over time could potentially harm human health, he argued.

Last month, a committee of advisers to the Canadian and U.S. Great Lakes Fishery Commission asked both governments to ban the sales of products with the beads.

The request came two years after sampling in the lakes found large amounts of the beads in the water.

“They see the writing on the wall and many have committed to certain deadlines as to when they will phase them out,” Chandra Herbert said. “I think an across-the-board ban would be required.”

He said he has spoken to the Ministry of Environment and they are open to a ban, but the ministry did not respond to a request for comment by the 24 hours deadline.


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