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Concerns raised as ban on plastic microbeads takes effect

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Erie County legislators are pondering the future of the county's ban on plastic microbeads used in personal care products that are considered an environmental threat to the Great Lakes. The ban takes effect on Sunday.

Lobbying representatives were at the Government Affairs Committee Thursday arguing a federal law which will be completely in effect July of 2018 supersedes the county law. County Attorney Michael Siragusa says he's not sure federal law triumphs.

Attorney Tony Dias doesn't agree  

"I don't necessarily agree with Mr. Siragusa that it's a cost-free option, cause as you can imagine there would be a number of affected constituents, whether they be retailers or others in the community that could potentially try to seek some sort of damages from the enforcement of a law that was pre-empted," Dias said.

Afterwards Dias refused to say if there would be immediate court action challenging the county's ban. Siragusa told legislators he will fight the good fight but doesn't know if the county's side will win in court. Several other counties followed Erie County in enacting the ban and are now considering what to do.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.