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Fred U.
Republican MI 6

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  • Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015

    by Representative Fred Upton

    Posted on 2015-12-07

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    UPTON. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 1321) to prohibit the sale or distribution of cosmetics containing synthetic plastic microbeads, as amended.

    The Clerk read the title of the bill.

    The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 1321 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015''.


    (a) In General.--Section 301 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 331) is amended by adding at the end the following: ``(ddd)(1) The manufacture or the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of a rinse-off cosmetic that contains intentionally-added plastic microbeads.

    ``(2) In this paragraph-- ``(A) the term `plastic microbead' means any solid plastic particle that is less than five millimeters in size and is intended to be used to exfoliate or cleanse the human body or any part thereof; and ``(B) the term `rinse-off cosmetic' includes toothpaste.''.

    (b) Applicability.-- (1) In general.--The amendment made by subsection (a) applies-- (A) with respect to manufacturing, beginning on July 1, 2017, and with respect to introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce, beginning on July 1, 2018; and (B) notwithstanding subparagraph (A), in the case of a rinse-off cosmetic that is a nonprescription drug, with respect to manufacturing, beginning on July 1, 2018, and with respect to the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce, beginning on July 1, 2019.

    (2) Nonprescription drug.--For purposes of this subsection, the term ``nonprescription drug'' means a drug not subject to section 503(b)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 353(b)(1)).

    (c) Preemption of State Laws.--No State or political subdivision of a State may directly or indirectly establish under any authority or continue in effect restrictions with respect to the manufacture or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of rinse-off cosmetics containing plastic microbeads (as defined in section 301(ddd) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as added by subsection (a)) that are not identical to the restrictions under such section 301(ddd) that have begun to apply under subsection (b).

    (d) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this Act (or the amendments made by this Act) shall be construed to apply with respect to drugs that are not also cosmetics (as such terms are defined in section 201 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 321)).

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Upton) and the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pallone) each will control 20 minutes.

    The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Michigan.

    General Leave Mr. UPTON. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and insert extraneous materials in the Record on the bill.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Michigan? There was no objection.

    Mr. UPTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 1321, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015.

    I am pleased to have partnered with my friend, Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone from New Jersey, on this very important bill to begin the phaseout of plastic microbeads, which you can see in this picture, literally the size of a pinhead sometimes on a penny, to begin the phaseout of plastic microbeads from personal care products on July 1, 2017.

    Many folks might be wondering, what exactly is a microbead? Well, I am sure many of you here and at home are using products that contain microbeads without even realizing it. Microbeads are those tiny little scrubbers in cleansers, body scrubs, and even toothpaste. On their own, they are nearly invisible, smaller than a pinhead, as I indicated.

    But once they are flushed down the drain, that is when the problem really begins. They are so small they easily flow through the water filtration systems and end up in our bodies of water, obviously, including the Great Lakes, where I hail from. They are known to absorb pollutants and often mistaken as food by fish and wildlife. Simply put, microbeads are causing megaproblems.

    As someone who grew up on Lake Michigan and represents a large chunk of the Michigan coastline, I understand firsthand how important it is to maintain the beauty and integrity of our Great Lakes and all of our water systems. The Great Lakes have survived many a foe--severe pollution, oil spills, discharge from refineries, zebra mussels, and attempts to steal our water, just to name a few. We are going to fight any activity that puts our beloved Great Lakes in jeopardy.

    Many State and local governments have created a patchwork of differing laws, which creates problems for interstate commerce. This bipartisan legislation will also preempt all State and local laws related to microbeads in cosmetics, which will ensure certainty for manufacturers and other job creators across the country.

    I urge all my colleagues to join me in ending this pesky problem of microbeads. They are tiny plastic, but big time pollution. As Michigan's Holland Sentinel editorialized this past spring, ``There's no reason keeping our faces feeling clean should require us to trash our lakes.'' I urge all Members to support this legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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