Democratic Caucus of the Monroe County Legislature

Brooks Administration to Study Legislator Styk’s Microbead Ban

Tom MorriseyComment

A Democratic proposal to ban the sale of personal care products containing microbeads in Monroe County will be sent to County Executive Maggie Brooks for further study and review following discussion in the Legislature and the hand-delivery of a letter from the Erie County Executive urging her to act. 

“Although I am disappointed that we did not take the opportunity to immediately approve this measure, I am pleased that my Majority Caucus colleagues agree to its critical importance and will send it to Executive Brooks for further research,” said Legislator Dorothy Styk (D-Perinton, East Rochester), the referral’s sponsor. “I will continue to be a strong advocate on issues that pose a potential threat to the health of the people I represent, both in my district and throughout this county, and urge the county administration to work as quickly as possible to return this legislation to us for passage, preferably by our next meeting.” 

In both Erie and Chautauqua Counties, similar legislation has been introduced and passed unanimously with overwhelming bipartisan support. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz sent a representative to tonight’s Agenda/Charter committee meeting to deliver remarks regarding the overwhelming support Erie County’s measure has enjoyed from residents and businesses, and to hand-deliver a personal message urging the measure’s passage to Executive Brooks.

“The emails, phone calls and face-to-face interactions I have had with constituents regarding this proposal have been overwhelmingly positive,” said Legislator Styk. “I look forward to continue working towards passing this broadly-supported idea that would protect our water quality, the health of those we represent, and economically vital industries, and thank my legislative colleagues and the County Executive for working with me on this issue.” 

Microbeads are plastic particles added to products like face washes as an exfoliant. Passing right through treatment facilities and into the Great Lakes, the beads absorb toxic chemicals like PCBs and DDT, and are then ingested by fish. As larger animals – including humans – eat lake fish, the toxic substances bioaccumulate at higher and higher levels. Recent SUNY Fredonia research has shown that Lake Ontario has some of the highest measured plastic levels of any body of water on Earth.

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Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has publicly encouraged his Monroe County counterpart to support the ban.

Read Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s letter to Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks