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WCS Statement on New York City Microbeads Ban Legislation


NEW YORK (Sept. 30, 2015) – Today, members of the New York City Council including Councilman Dan Garodnick introduced legislation that would ban the sale of products containing plastic “microbeads,” which have been shown to harm waterways and wildlife.

The following statement was released today by WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs John Calvelli:

“Clean waters mean healthy communities, and WCS thanks Councilman Garodnick and Attorney General Schneiderman for having the foresight to lead on this important legislation for New Yorkers.

“Microbeads, those tiny plastic particles that have recently been added to cosmetic products to add ‘abrasion and exfoliation,’ are finding their way into our lakes, rivers, streams and the ocean. Because they are too tiny for sewage treatment plants, they are not filtered out of the effluent that runs into our waterways. The highly toxic particles are ingested by fish, amphibians, and other marine animals and become part of the food chain as larger animals eat the smaller ones.

“This should be an easy problem to solve nationwide. There are already natural alternatives to microbeads on the market, and cosmetics and personal care companies are slowly phasing out plastics in response to consumer pressure. But the products containing microbeads remain widely available despite overwhelming evidence of their harm. The passage of a ban in New York City, and the market pressure that would coincide, would have a multiplying effect on the companies still selling these products.

“There’s been a renewed push in New York to care for the waters of the New York Seascape.  More attention paid to the water around us means healthier ecosystems, which affect the food we eat, the work we do, and the recreational activities we enjoy. Banning microbeads is a common sense solution to a harmful problem that would result in little to no additional cost to consumers or corporations. This measure would improve the health of our waters and by extension our communities.

“A change to natural alternatives to microbeads is in the best interest of everyone, and Councilman Garodnick’s legislation is a step in the right direction.”

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City,  visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit:;;  Follow: @thewcs.