BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Stores in Erie County will no longer be able to stock products with microbeads in them on their shelves any longer.
The Erie County Legislature passed a ban on the tiny plastic balls Thursday afternoon with a unanimous vote of 11-0. The ban will take effect in January, so stores have until then to comply with the new law.
Legislators and environmentalists argued on the negative impacts of the plastic products, citing consequences of introducing them into Lake Erie. In Erie County alone, officials say 1,700 pounds of microbeads are washed down the drain each year.
Microbeads are too small to be stopped by filtration systems, and fall to the lake bed, where they’re consumed by fish which think they could be food.
Erie County is the first in New York State to pass such a ban.