BILL ANALYSIS Ó SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY Senator Wieckowski, Chair 2015 - 2016 Regular Bill No: SB 625 ----------------------------------------------------------------- |Author: |Galgiani | ----------------------------------------------------------------- |-----------+-----------------------+-------------+----------------| |Version: |4/20/2015 |Hearing |4/29/2015 | | | |Date: | | |-----------+-----------------------+-------------+----------------| |Urgency: |No |Fiscal: |Yes | ------------------------------------------------------------------ ----------------------------------------------------------------- |Consultant:|Rachel Machi Wagoner | | | | ----------------------------------------------------------------- SUBJECT: Waste management: synthetic plastic microbeads ANALYSIS: Existing federal law: 1. Under the Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act of 1987, prohibits all ships from disposing of plastic and other solid materials in navigable waters within the United States (33 U.S.C. §1901 et seq.). 2. Requires the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), Coast Guard, Navy, and other agencies to identify, determine sources of, assess, prevent, reduce, and remove marine debris (33 U.S.C. §1951 et seq.). Existing state law: 1. Under the Porter Cologne Water Quality Control Act, regulates the discharge of pollutants in stormwater and urban runoff (WAT §13000 et seq.). 2. Prohibits the release of preproduction plastic pellets to the environment that could enter state waters (WAT §13367). 3. Prohibits the sale of expanded polystyrene loose fill packaging material by a wholesaler or manufacturer (PRC §42390). SB 625 (Galgiani) Page 2 of ? This bill: 1. Prohibits, on and after January 1, 2020, a person, as defined, from selling or offering for promotional purposes in this state a personal care product containing synthetic plastic microbeads, as specified. 2. Exempts from those prohibitions the sale or promotional offer of a product containing less than 1 part per million (ppm) by weight of synthetic plastic microbeads, as provided. 3. Makes a violator liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $2,500 per day for each violation. 4. Authorizes the penalty to be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in any court of competent jurisdiction by the Attorney General, to be retained by that office. 5. Makes these moneys available to the office of the Attorney General, upon appropriation, for the purpose of enforcing these provisions. 6. Prohibits a city, county, or other local public agency from adopting, amending enforcing, or otherwise implementing an ordinance, resolution, regulation, or rule relating to the sale or offering for promotional purposes of personal care products that contain synthetic plastic microbeads. Background 1. Plastics: Use, Environmental Presence and Impact. Since the beginning of commercial production of plastics 80 years ago, plastic has become a common component of daily living. The annual global plastic production has risen from 1.9 million tons in the 1950s to 317 million tons in 2012. In addition, some of the properties that make plastics a versatile material also make them convenient to discard. Although plastic represents a relatively small fraction of the overall waste stream in California, plastic waste is the predominate form of marine debris. Plastics are estimated to compose 60-80% of all marine debris and 90% of all floating debris. According to the California Coastal Commission, the SB 625 (Galgiani) Page 3 of ? primary source of marine debris is urban runoff. Due to the interplay of ocean currents, marine debris preferentially accumulates in certain areas throughout the ocean. The North Pacific Central Gyre is the ultimate destination for much of the marine debris originating from the California coast. A study by the Algalita Marine Research Foundation found an average of more than 300,000 plastic pieces per square mile of the Gyre and that the mass of plastic was six times greater than zooplankton floating on the water's surface. Most plastic marine debris exists as small plastic particles due to excessive UV radiation exposure and subsequent photo-degradation. Hydrophobic chemicals present in the ocean in trace amounts (e.g., from contaminated runoff and oil and chemical spills) have an affinity for, and can bind to, plastic particles and may also enter and accumulate in the food chain through the same mechanism. In 2011, the National Oceanic Atmosphere Association found that plastic debris accumulates pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) up to 100,000 to 1,000,000 times the levels found in seawater. Once in the environment, the plastic pieces, or microplastics, are ingested by aquatic organisms; an estimated 250 animal species worldwide have already been negatively affected. The plastic particles can become lodged in the bloodstreams or digestive tracts of fish. Once inside a fish or other marine organism, the pollutants that were absorbed into the plastic are transferred to the tissues of the marine organism and can result in long-term harm to reproduction and other functions. Microplastics have also been found in predators that eat marine life, including birds and reptiles. 2. Development of Microbeads. Microbeads are small, typically spherical, plastic particles that commonly range in size from 50 to 500 microns (1 meter has 1 million microns). Microbeads were introduced in personal care products as a uniform, nonallergenic exfoliant. Prior to the widespread use of microbeads in the 1990s, natural exfoliants such as ground almonds, oatmeal, and sea salt were common. Today, over 100 cosmetics and personal care products contain microbeads, and according to 5 Gyres SB 625 (Galgiani) Page 4 of ? Institute, some products contain over 350,000 microbeads in one tube. When used as intended, microbeads are designed to enter municipal sewer systems for disposal. Many sewer systems are unable to remove microbeads during the water treatment process, resulting in the general release of microbeads into state waters. Microbeads enter the environment with similar physical properties to the small plastic particles that result from degradation of plastic in the environment. 3. Microbeads as Environmental Contaminants. In studying plastic pollution in the Great Lakes in 2012, researchers from 5 Gyres Institute and State University of New York College at Fredonia found significant levels of microplastic particles throughout the lakes. 58% of all identified pellets were microbeads, and further evaluation linked these particles to personal care products. Of particular concern were samples found in Lake Erie in a location downstream from Detroit, Cleveland, and Erie, where concentrations of microplastics rival those found in ocean gyres (over 450,000 plastic pieces per square kilometer). Earlier this year, research by the 5 Gyres Institute found microbeads in the Los Angeles River. 4. Efforts to Address Microplastics Usage. In light of the environmental concerns associated with microplastics, and the discovery of high concentrations of microbeads in various water systems, there has been mounting pressure to remove plastic microbeads from commercial products. Ohio, New York, and Illinois have been moving legislation to ban plastic microbeads. The Ohio legislation (SB 304, Skindell) would ban the sale of a personal care product containing microbeads. There is no specified timeline in the legislation, so presumably the ban would begin in 2015. The New York legislation (A08744, Sweeny) would ban the sale of a personal cosmetic product that contains intentionally added microbeads effective January 1, 2016. Products that SB 625 (Galgiani) Page 5 of ? are regulated as drugs (such as over-the-counter acne medication) would have until January 1, 2017 to comply. The Illinois ban on microbeads (SB2727, Steans) was signed by Governor Quinn on June 8, 2014. The legislation provides a gradual timeline for the ban of microbeads. Personal care products containing microbeads would not be accepted for sale after December 31, 2017 and could not be sold in Illinois after December 31, 2018. Over-the-counter drugs would have a one-year extension. In addition to legislative efforts, numerous companies have responded to mounting public pressure by announcing voluntary phase-outs of microbead-containing products. Ongoing phase-outs include: ? Colgate-Palmolive - end of 2014 ? Johnson & Johnson - end of 2015 ? L'Oreal - no set date ? Proctor & Gamble - end of 2017 at the earliest ? The Body Shop - end of 2015 ? Unilever - end of 2015 5. AB 1699 (Bloom, 2014). AB 1699 would have prohibited the sale of microbead containing products in California as specified. Specifically it: A. Defines various terms, including "microplastic," "personal care products," "person in the course of doing business," and "plastic." B. Prohibits any person in the course of doing business from selling or promoting personal care products with microplastics after January 1, 2019. The bill offers an exemption for products with less than 1 part per million microplastic by weight. C. Imposes a civil penalty of up to $2,500 per day for violations, and allows the fees to be kept by the office that prosecutes the violation. AB 1699 failed passage on the Senate Floor on a vote of SB 625 (Galgiani) Page 6 of ? 20-14. Comments 1. Amendments Needed. A. Intent language. The bill makes a series of statements about plastics in the environment that are scientifically questionable because of the qualifying language added. For example "conventional" plastic does not biodegrade and "synthetic" plastic microbeads have been found in surface water of the United States. It implies that non-conventional plastics and biodegradable microbeads do not pose the same threat. The intent language should be stricken from the bill in its entirety. B. There are several key differences between AB 1699 and SB 625 that the Senate Environmental Quality Committee considered last year in the hearing of AB 1699. (1) The Governing Definition of Microbead. In the final version of AB 1699 the definition was: "Synthetic plastic microbead" means "an intentionally added particle of non-water-soluble plastic measuring five millimeters or less in size in every dimension." In the version of AB 1699 heard by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee the definition stated: "Plastic microbead" means "an intentionally added plastic particle measuring five millimeters or less in size in every dimension." In SB 625 the definition is: "Synthetic plastic microbead" is "an intentionally added non-biodegradable solid plastic particle measuring five millimeters in size or less in every dimension, that retains its shape during use and after disposal, and that is used to exfoliate or cleanse in a rinse-off personal care product." SB 625 (Galgiani) Page 7 of ? By using "non-biodegradable" instead of "non-water soluble" and adding the additional qualifiers that it is 1) "synthetic" and 2) "retains its shape during use and after disposal, and that is used to exfoliate or cleanse in a rinse-off personal care product," this definition creates a large loophole for certain plastics to continue to be used in these products. In their opposition letter last year to AB 1699, the Personal Care Products Council recommended using the term "synthetic plastic microbead." The Senate Environmental Quality Committee analysis of AB 1699 points out the flaws in this definition as follow: a) "Synthetic" - That although there is not a definition of plastics in California law, plastics are recognized generally and throughout statute to be composed of a variety of materials, including polyethylene and polypropylene, and natural substances, such as petroleum. The use of the term "synthetic" in regards to plastics is unclear and confusing: these terms are never used together in statute, and their use would imply that there are naturally-occurring versions of commonly-used plastics - which there are not. As a result, it is not appropriate to use the term "synthetic plastic." b) "Bio-degradable" Language to allow the use of biodegradable or non-persistent microbeads is inappropriate. Just because a material is biodegradable does not mean that it is environmentally benign. Biodegradation can take weeks or months, during which time environmental harm could be done. In addition, appropriate testing methods must be developed for products based on the material and its environmental location. A product's ability to biodegrade is a function of both the physical SB 625 (Galgiani) Page 8 of ? and chemical makeup of the product as well as the environmental conditions to which it is subject; as a result, the biodegradation of a product in a landfill, a wastewater treatment plant, or the ocean may all be different. SB 567 (DeSaulnier, Chapter 594, Statutes of 2011) found that the "use of the term 'degradable,' 'biodegradable,' 'decomposable,' or other like terms on plastic products is inherently misleading" unless certain claims are made and an appropriate testing method has been approved. It is not appropriate at this point for legislation to use the terms "persistent" or "biodegradable" in reference to plastic microbeads. The bill should be amended to use the definition of "Plastic microbead" as approved by this committee last year - "An intentionally added plastic particle measuring five millimeters or less in size in every dimension." (1) Enforcement. AB 1699 and SB 655 both contain provisions making a violation of this law a civil penalty with a civil penalty not to exceed $2,500 per day for each violation. However, SB 655 specifically designates that penalty to be used for enforcement by the Attorney General and prohibits a city, county, or other local public agency from adopting, amending enforcing, or otherwise implementing an ordinance, resolution, regulation, or rule relating to the sale or offering for promotional purposes of personal care products that contain synthetic plastic microbeads. This preemption language severely limits the enforcement of this matter. An amendment is needed to strike the preemption SB 625 (Galgiani) Page 9 of ? language from the bill. Related/Prior Legislation AB 888 (Bloom, 2015) prohibits on and after January 1, 2020, a person, as defined, from selling or offering for promotional purposes in this state a personal care product containing intentionally added plastic microbeads, as specified. The bill would exempt from those prohibitions the sale or promotional offer of a product containing less than 1 part per million (ppm) by weight of plastic microbeads, as provided. AB 1699 (Bloom, 2014) prohibits after January 1, 2019, a person, as defined, from selling or offering for promotional purposes in this state a personal care product containing synthetic plastic microbeads, as specified, unless the personal care product is an over-the-counter drug, and would prohibit a person, after January 1, 2020, from selling or offering a personal care product containing synthetic plastic microbeads, including a personal care product that is an over-the-counter drug. AB 1699 failed passage on the Senate Floor on a vote of 20-14. SUPPORT/ OPPOSITION: This bill was amended on April 20, 2015, striking simple intent language (a "spot bill") and adding significant operative language. It was then referred to policy committees from the Rules Committee on April 22, 2015. By amending and referring the bill so close to the final hearing of this committee on April 29, 2015, there was not adequate time for ALL stakeholders to review and register positions and concerns prior to the bill being heard. Because of this, no support or opposition is included in the analysis. DOUBLE REFERRAL: Should this bill pass the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, it is to be referred to the Committee on the Judiciary for consideration of the provisions relating to the civil penalty. -- END -- SB 625 (Galgiani) Page 10 of ?