Letter: Maine sets good example on microbead limits

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On March 24, the Maine Legislature passed LD 85, which phased out microbeads in personal beauty products and over-the-counter drugs. Microbeads are tiny plastic beads that are not biodegradable. Microbeads are damaging because they flow through treatment facilities into the oceans, where they are digested by ocean wildlife and eventually are consumed by humans. LD 85 works against microbeads contaminating the ocean because it prevents sales and purchases of products with microbeads in them by Dec. 31, 2019. This bill was crucial to the conservation of the Maine coast and its wildlife, and demonstrates how climate change and conservation are on the forefront of Mainers’ minds.

Because microbeads are incredibly harmful to the ocean, the problem needs to be further addressed. LD 85 was a good first step, but the U.S. still puts thousands of tons of microbeads in oceans and lakes every year. Some argue that banning microbeads would cause businesses to suffer. However, fortunately, there are many biodegradable, natural substances that can be used as replacements, like ground rice and walnut shells. Many countries around the world, such as Canada and the Netherlands, have adopted policies against microbeads, and the U.S. should do the same.

LD 85 was a critical bill that was passed and I’m proud I belong to a state where the ocean is as prominent in our Legislature as it is in our lives.

Maria Kuhn