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Washington — Congress has approved legislation banning plastic microbeads used in soaps, body washes and other personal-care products after complaints that the tiny beads were harming fish and wildlife.

The measure prohibits the manufacture or sale of products that contain plastic microbeads as of July 1, 2017.

Microbeads are tiny plastic particles used as an abrasive in many personal-care and beauty products, such as facial scrubs, soaps and toothpastes. Microbeads do not dissolve, but instead are rinsed down the drain and discharged into lakes and rivers where fish and other wildlife mistake them for food.

The federal legislation would take precedence over state laws that are starting to phase out microbead sales.

The bill now heads to the White House.

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