BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 1699
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          Date of Hearing:   April 29, 2014

                                  Luis Alejo, Chair
                    AB 1699 (Bloom) - As Amended:  April 22, 2014
          SUBJECT  :   Waste management:  microplastics.

           SUMMARY :   Prohibits, on or after January 1, 2016, the sale or  
          promotion of personal care products containing microplastic.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Makes legislative findings about microplastic particles and  
            their effects on the environment.

          2)Defines "microplastic" as any plastic size 5 millimeters or  
            less in all dimensions.

          3)Defines "personal care products" as mixtures and solutions  
            used for bathing and facial or body cleaning, including, but  
            not limited to, hand and body soap, exfoliates, shampoos,  
            toothpastes, and scrubs.

          4)Defines "person in the course of doing business" as not  
            including any person employing fewer than 10 employees; any  
            city, county, or district, or the federal government; or any  
            entity in its operation of a public water system.

          5)Defines "plastic" as a synthetic material made from linking  
            monomers through a chemical reaction to create a polymer chain  
            that can be molded or extruded at high heat into various  
            forms.  Provides that plastics can be made from many organic  
            substances, including petroleum and natural gas.

          6)Prohibits, on or after January 1, 2016, a person in the course  
            of doing business from selling or offering for promotional  
            purposes any personal care products containing microplastic.   
            Specifies that the prohibition does not apply to products  
            containing microplastic in an amount of less than 1 part per  
            million (ppm) by weight.

          7)Provides that a person who violates or threatens to violate  
            the provisions of the bill may be enjoined in any court of  
            competent jurisdiction and is liable for a civil penalty not  
            to exceed $2,500 per day for each violation, as specified.


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          8)Authorizes the Attorney General, a district attorney, a city  
            attorney of a city having a population in excess of 750,000  
            persons, or a city prosecutor to enforce the provisions of the  

          9)Requires the civil penalties collected to be retained by the  
            office of the city attorney, city prosecutor, district  
            attorney, or Attorney General, whichever office brought the  

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Prohibits, under the federal Marine Plastic Pollution Research  
            and Control Act of 1987, the at-sea disposal of plastic and  
            other solid materials for all navigable waters within the  
            United States.  (33 U.S.C.  1901 et seq.)

          2)Regulates, under the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act,  
            discharges of pollutants in storm water and urban runoff by  
            regulating, through the National Pollution Discharge  
            Elimination System (NPDES), industrial discharges and  
            discharges through the municipal storm drain systems.  (Water  
            Code  13000 et seq.)

             a)   Requires the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)  
               and the regional water boards to implement a program to  
               control discharges of preproduction plastic (nurdles) from  
               point and nonpoint sources.  Requires the SWRCB to  
               determine the appropriate regulatory methods to address the  
               discharges from these point and nonpoint sources. (Water  
               Code  13367)

          3)Declares that littered plastic products have caused and  
            continue to cause significant environmental harm and have  
            burdened local governments with significant environmental  
            cleanup costs.  (Public Resources Code (PRC)  42355)

          4)Prohibits a wholesaler or manufacturer from selling or  
            offering for sale expanded polystyrene loosefill packaging  
            material.  (PRC  42390)

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown.

           COMMENTS  :   


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           Need for the bill  :  According to the author, "Microplastic beads  
          are sold in consumer products as abrasives and exfoliants (such  
          as in soaps, facial scrubs, etc.)  In some products there are  
          over 350,000 microbeads in one tube alone.  They are directly  
          washed down the drain and too small to be captured by water  
          treatment facilities.  Recent studies have shown microbeads to  
          be a pervasive marine pollutant, and have been found in alarming  
          quantities everywhere from the garbage gyres in the Pacific  
          Ocean to the Great Lakes to the LA River.  Research has also  
          shown that these beads absorb toxins and are being ingested by  
          marine life, posing a threat to our marine ecosystems.   
          Currently there is no law banning their use in consumer  
          products.  While some larger companies such as Unilever, Proctor  
          & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson have pledged to phase microbeads  
          out of their products and replace them with natural  
          alternatives, the proposed phase out dates range all over the  
          place and in some cases are only 50% by a certain date, etc.   
          Our bill would provide a hard phase out date to ensure that  
          plastic microbeads from personal care products are no longer  
          entering our waters."

           Microplastics in the marine environment  :  According to the  
          United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), marine  
          debris is a serious problem that impacts the environment,  
          economy, and human health and safety.  Plastic pollution is the  
          predominant type of anthropogenic debris found in the marine  

          Microplastics enter the marine environment as larger plastic  
          objects that eventually degrade into smaller components, as shed  
          synthetic fibers from textiles during clothes washing, or as  
          microbeads that originate in personal care products.  According  
          to The 5 Gyres Institute, microplastic particles and microbeads,  
          which are typically made of polyethylene, polypropylene,  
          polyethylene terephthalate, polymethyl methacrylate or nylon,  
          can be found in facial and body scrubs, shampoos, soaps,  
          toothpaste, eyeliners, lip gloss, deodorant, and sunblock  
          sticks.  Some of these products, most of which are designed to  
          be flushed down the sink or bath drain, contain more than  
          350,000 beads per bottle.  

          A number of studies have shown that microplastics pass through  
          wastewater treatment facilities and into waterways, eventually  
          flowing to the ocean.  Additional microplastics reach rivers and  


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          oceans as a result of wastewater overflow during heavy rainfall  

           Impacts of discarded microplastic  :  The US EPA states that  
          marine animals accidentally eat marine debris while feeding on  
          natural food.  Ingestion can lead to starvation or malnutrition  
          when the debris collects in the animal's stomach and causes the  
          animal to stop feeding.  Internal injuries and infections may  
          also result from ingestion.  

          In addition to causing these types of injuries to wildlife,  
          microplastics can have toxicological effects.  Research suggests  
          that microplastics attract and absorb persistent organic  
          pollutants, such as PCBs, DDT, and PBDEs.  Studies conducted by  
          UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and  
          Synthesis (NCEAS) show that about 78 percent of the chemicals  
          recognized by the US EPA are associated with microplastic  
          pollution.  Additional studies at NCEAS show that toxic  
          concentrations of pollutants and additives enter the tissue of  
          animals that have eaten microplastic.  These pollutants  
          bioaccumulate and bioamplify, having the potential to impact  
          ecosystems and human health.  

           Are microplastic beads necessary in personal care products  ?   
          Alternatives to plastic microbeads are commonly used in personal  
          care products, such as ground fruit pits and seeds, cocoa beans,  
          rice, sugar, and salt.  While some opponents argue that these  
          components don't offer the same scrubbing feeling or  
          hypoallergenic properties as microbeads, many major  
          manufacturers are already voluntarily phasing out microplastics  
          and using these or other alternatives.  For example,  
          Colgate-Palmolive's website states, "We recognize that consumers  
          have questions and are reformulating with alternate ingredients  
          the small number of our products containing microplastics.  Much  
          of this work has already been accomplished, and the process will  
          be completed by 2014."  Unilever's website states, "Unilever has  
          decided to phase out plastic scrub beads from personal care  
          products.  This is because we believe we can provide consumers  
          with products that deliver a similar exfoliating performance  
          without the need to use plastics.  We expect to complete this  
          phase out globally by 2015."  Johnson & Johnson, L'Oreal, and  
          Proctor & Gamble have also committed to eliminating the use of  
          microplastics in their products.

           Other states' action on microplastics  :  Several other states are  


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          currently considering legislation on microplastics, including  
          Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio.   
          The New York bills, S07018 and A08744, prohibit the production,  
          manufacture, sale, or offering for sale of any personal care  
          product that contains intentionally added microbeads beginning  
          on December 31, 2015.  SB 2727, which is being considered in  
          Illinois, would prohibit the manufacture for sale of a personal  
          care product that contains synthetic plastic microbeads  
          beginning on December 31, 2017, and would prohibit a person from  
          accepting for sale a personal care product that contains  
          synthetic plastic microbeads beginning on December 31, 2018.

           Arguments in support  :  Sixteen environmental and public health  
          groups argue, "In 2012, scientists found more than 450,000  
          micro-beads per square kilometer in parts of the Great Lakes.   
          Micro-plastic particles are found in all oceanic gyres, bays,  
          gulfs and seas worldwide.  Plastic micro-beads have been  
          documented to escape sewage treatment?  Micro-beads are  
          pervasive in the environment, pollutants (long-lasting toxic  
          chemicals like DDT, PAHs, PCBs [flame-retardants]) and other  
          industrial chemicals, and are consumed by a variety of marine  
          life, including the fish we harvest for food?  Recently, it has  
          been demonstrated that those toxins transfer to the fish tissue.  
           Scientists are concerned with toxins bio-accumulating and  
          biomagnifying up the food chain, with apex predators such as  
          whales and humans susceptible to the greatest accumulation of  
          toxins with potentially severe consequences."

           Arguments in opposition  :  The Personal Care Products Council  
          argues, "AB 1699 would regulate the use of microbeads used in  
          personal care and cleaning products by January 2016.  This  
          timeline for implementation is overly aggressive and unrealistic  
          for total compliance.  Environmental Stewardship is something  
          that our members take very seriously; in fact, companies have  
          already announced plans to reformulate existing products.  The  
          requirements of both the Federal and State Food Drug and  
          Cosmetics Act requires companies to insure the safety of each  
          and every ingredient and finished product before marketing a  
          product.  Accordingly, a complete reformulation by our members  
          will require sufficient time for research, analysis and product  
          safety testing.  We feel that an expedited timetable could  
          jeopardize the health and safety of these alternative products  
          for consumers."

           Double referral  :  This bill was double referred to the Assembly  


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          Natural Resources and Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials  
          Committees.  It passed out of the Assembly Natural Resources  
          Committee on April 7, 2014, on a 6-3 vote.


           Support  :  
          All One Ocean
          Attorney General, Department of Justice, State of California
          California Association of Sanitation Agencies
          Californians Against Waste
          Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
          Center for Biological Diversity
          City of Los Angeles
          Coachella Valley Water District
          Environment California
          Heal the Bay
          Las Virgenes - Triunfo Joint Powers Authority
          Los Angeles Waterkeeper
          Natural Resources Defense Council
          Ocean Conservancy
          Ocean Voyage Institute/Project Kaisei
          Plastic Free Seas
          Plastic Pollution Coalition
          Plastic Soup Foundation
          San Luis Obispo Waterkeeper
          Save Our Shores
          Seventh Generation Advisors
          Sierra Club California
          Surfrider Foundation
          Team Marine
          The Five Gyres Institute
          Turtle Island Restoration Network

           Opposition  :  
          American Cleaning Institute
          California Chamber of Commerce
          California Healthcare Institute
          California Manufacturers & Technology Association


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          California Retailers Association
          Chemical Industry Council of California
          Consumer Healthcare Products Association
          Personal Care Products Council
          Western Plastics Association
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Shannon McKinney / E.S. & T.M. / (916)