BRENTWOOD—California Assemblyman Richard Bloom has introduced the first legislature addressing plastic microfibers. The legislation, titled AB 2379, requires that all clothing made primarily of polyester include a label that warns of plastic microfiber shedding and recommends handwashing the item in order to reduce the impact.
Synthetic microfibers make up a large portion of the harmful “microplastic” pollutants that infect our oceans, rivers, and lakes. They are most often introduced by clothing that is thrown away that utilize synthetic materials. These tiny fibers bind with harmful pollutants that are introduced in wastewater. They are then ingested by sea life, causing health problems and making their way into our food.
Bloom has been serving the 50th district of California since 2012. In 2015, he penned the 2015 California plastic microbead ban. The ban was taken up at a national level the following year and signed into federal law by President Barack Obama. “Plastic microfibers are making their way from washing machines into our seafood and even into the water we drink,” said Bloom.
“Manufacturers can’t continue to stick the public with the economic and health costs of cleaning up the products they produce, and consumers shouldn’t have to worry about eating or drinking plastic,” said Melissa Romero, Policy Associate at Californians Against Waste. “Handwashing is the best first step to reduce the amount of microfibers that make their way into our water until manufacturers find a way to prevent this problem.”
“We banned plastic microbeads because of the pollution they cause. Microfibers account for almost twenty times more pollution than microbeads, it’s a crisis. What’s at issue is that because of their size, microfibers are bioavailable to even the smallest creatures in the food chain and if they don’t survive, nothing will”, said Stiv Wilson, Campaigns Director for The Story of Stuff Project.
His district includes Agoura Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Hollywood, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Topanga, West Hollywood, and West Los Angeles.
Assemblymembers Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) and Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley) are co-authoring the bill.
“This bill will educate the public so that they can do their part in stemming this alarming environmental and public health discovery,” added Bloom.
Written By Don Girard and Kelsey Thomas