Legislature adopts microbead ban; bill moves on to executive

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — If legislators have their way, Erie County retailers will have six months to clear their shelves of products containing microbeads.
They can remove them, or sell them.

But by January, their presence will cost local stores fines.

Erie County Legislature Thursday approved unanimously a bill that bans the sale of products containing microbeads.

Legislators and environmental activists say tons of microbeads pass through sewer systems and end up in Lake Erie, where they’re consumed by fish, some of which is eventually consumed by people.

Thursday’s move was just as much a message as it was legislative, according to supporters — considering the state has failed for two consecutive years to bring the issue up for a vote.

But there is some question about enforcement, and just how the county will follow through with fines after January.

Although both sponsors of this bill, Patrick Burke and Chairman John Mills, promise the county executive will sign off on it, there’s still an option for him to kick it back.

County Executive Mark Poloncarz said he intends to hold a public hearing before making a decision about whether he will sign the legislation.

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