Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, a member of the Assembly Standing Committee of Environmental Conservation, was a featured panelist at the Long Island Water Conference’s Annual Water Symposium. She was joined by Assemblyman Steven Englebright, chair of the Assembly Standing Committee of Environmental Conservation, and County Legislator Donald MacKenzie, former commissioner of the Oyster Bay Water District. Suffolk County Water Authority Chairman James Gaughran monitored the panel.
Assemblywoman Schimel discussed her environmental legislative priorities for next session, including her Microbead-Free Waters Act and Triclosan Ban legislation. The dangers of flushables in our sewer systems, the need for water conservation on Long Island, saltwater intrusion and climate change were also discussed.
The Microbead-Free Waters Act would prohibit the production, manufacturing, distribution and sale of any beauty product, cosmetics or other personal care products containing tiny plastic beads, commonly marketed as microbeads in New York. Consumers using products containing microbeads, such as shampoos, soaps and toothpastes, are washing them down the drain in what most consumers believe are harmless waste.
New Yorkers flush 19 tons of microbeads down the drain each year. These microbeads collect pollutants and harm fish and other aquatic organisms that wind up as the base for our aquatic food chain.
Schimel’s Triclosan Ban legislation would prohibit the sale of cleaning products containing triclosan, a synthetic broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent that’s been around since the early 1970s that has been found to be toxic to aquatic life and algae. Many scientists and physicians are concerned that triclosan may promote the emergence of bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
New York would be the second state in the country to prohibit this antibacterial compound found in cleaning products such as soaps, body washes, shampoos, laundry detergents and disinfectants.