Portantino Targets Plastic Pollution in Ocean and Drinking Water – Gov. Brown Signs SB 1422 and SB 1263

Monday, October 1 2018

Sacramento, California – Governor Jerry Brown recently signed SB 1422 and SB 1263 authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino, D–La Cañada Flintridge.  These bills will help increase the knowledge of the risks of micro plastic materials and microfibers on the marine environment and in drinking water.  Micro plastics pose a potential threat to the public’s health as the levels of micro plastics in drinking water are not currently monitored and they are increasingly present in our ocean water.

SB 1422 requires the State Water Resources Control Board to adopt requirements for the annual testing and reporting of the amount of micro-plastics in drinking water. SB 1263 takes the initial step of addressing the micro plastic problem in the ocean and requires the Ocean Protection Council to implement a statewide micro-plastics strategy and authorizes marine research institutes that would contribute directly to the development of the statewide micro plastics Strategy.

“I am glad that these important environmental protections will become law. I believe that it is crucial that the public be made aware of the extent of micro plastics in the drinking water we consume daily. Greater knowledge of the contaminants in drinking water can lead to increased efforts of recycling, decreased use of plastics, decreased pollution, and overall a healthier public and planet. By directing researchers to develop a science-based approach to stopping micro-plastics in our oceans we are taking a very positive step forward in marine protection.  I am very grateful to Governor Brown for signing them into law,” commented Senator Portantino

All plastic in the ocean eventually becomes micro plastic and are confused by small fish, plankton, or krill and are ingested by other aquatic organisms. In 2017, scientists at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University found that corals are also ingesting small plastic particles, which remain in their stomach cavities and impede their ability to consume and digest food.

“Micro plastics and microfibers are a macro problem. Evidence now shows that even our own food and drinking sources are contaminated with plastic, which not only affects water quality and wildlife, but could also pose a public health threat to Californians. Since cleanup of micro plastics isn’t feasible, California must start taking action now to prevent micro plastics from entering our waterways, being applied to land, and ultimately entering our food and drinking water chain. Californians have a right to know what they are ingesting, and that their representatives are actively working on solutions. We commend Senator Portantino for helping California lead on this issue.” said Genevieve Abedon, Policy Associate, Ecoconsult.

“We already know plastic pollution is a problem in our oceans, SB 1422 will provide a scientifically sound process for quantifying the scope and impact of plastic pollution in drinking water, demonstrating that plastic pollution isn’t just a problem for the oceans – it’s a problem for people. We commend Senator Portantino for his determination in addressing this emerging issue.” said Melissa Romero with Californians Against Waste.

SB 1263 is supported by California Association of Sanitation Agencies, 5 Gyres Institute, Audubon California, California Municipal Utilities Association, California Product Stewardship Council, Californians Against Waste, Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education, Clean Water Action, County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, Heal the Bay, National Stewardship Action Council, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Seventh Generation Advisors, Surfrider Foundation, The Story of Stuff Project, and UPSTREAM.

SB 1422 is supported by Azul, Breast Cancer Prevention Partner, Californians Against Waste, California Coastkeeper Alliance, California Coastal Protection Network, California Product Stewardship Council, Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Action, Empower Family California, Environmental Working Group, Greenpeace, Heal the Bay, National Stewardship Action Council, Northern California Recycling Association, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Seventh Generation Advisors, Sierra Club of California, StopWaste, Surfrider Foundation, Team Marine, The 5 Gyres Institute, The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education (COARE), The Trust for Public Land, UPSTREAM Policy, WILDCOAST, and Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation.


Sen. Portantino represents nearly 930,000 people in the 25th Senate District, which includes Altadena, Atwater Village, Bradbury, Burbank, Claremont, Duarte, Glendale, Glendora, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Lake View Terrace, La Verne, Los Feliz, Monrovia, Montrose, Pasadena, San Dimas, San Marino, Shadow Hills, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena, Sunland-Tujunga, and Upland.