AUGUSTA – A bill that would ban the sale of synthetic microbeads in personal care products has been sent to Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

The Republican-led Senate unanimously approved Democratic Rep. Joan Welsh’s bill on Wednesday. The Democratic-controlled House passed the proposal with a 145-1 vote on Tuesday.

The measure would require microbeads, which are used as exfoliants in facial cleansers and soaps, to be phased out over three years.

Supporters of the bill have said that the tiny plastic particles are too small to be caught in filtration systems and land in the water supply. That means humans end up ingesting the beads when they drink water or eat fish and other animals.

The measure received broad support from environmental groups as well as personal care product manufacturers.

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