State Senate passes bill to ban "microbeads," tiny bits of plastic in soap and toothpaste

MADISON (AP) — Wisconsin is joining the nationwide push to ban a key plastic exfoliant in soap, toothpaste and other personal care products out of fear it's leading to water pollution.

The state Senate on Tuesday passed a bill banning the tiny bits of plastic known as microbeads. They are typically found in facial scrubs and toothpaste.

Scientists recently discovered that the particles are flowing by the billions from wastewater treatment plants into the Great Lakes and other water systems.

Major manufacturers have already started substituting microbeads with natural substances including ground-up fruit pits, oatmeal and sea salt.

The bill passed Tuesday on a voice vote would prohibit making personal care products containing microbeads starting in 2018 and disallow selling them starting in 2019.

New York and Illinois already have bans in place.