Senator Portantino Bill Requiring Robust Study of Microplastics in Drinking Water Passes Senate Committee

Thursday, April 18 2024

For Immediate Release: April 18, 2024

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 409-0400


Senator Portantino Bill Requiring Robust Study of Microplastics in Drinking Water Passes Senate Committee

Sacramento, CA – SB 1147, authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank) that would require the study of the health impacts of microplastics in drinking water, passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.

“SB 1147 is an important public health measure that will increase the safety of our drinking water,” stated Senator Portantino. “Microplastics have been identified in rain, drinking water, soil, and air. That’s why more research and action is necessary to understand how to deal with their impact on our health.”

In 2018, there was an average of 325 pieces of microplastics identified in a liter of bottled water. Currently, California’s water bottling facilities do not test for microplastics, nor do they have a method to test for microplastics.

SB 1147 requires all water-bottling plants that produces bottled water for sale must  provide an annual report the State Department of Public Health’s Food and Drug branch on the levels of microplastics found in the source water. The bill requires the report to be included with the annual water-bottling plant report and, upon request, be made available to consumers.

SB 1147 also requires the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to study the health impacts of microplastics in drinking water, including bottled water, and to evaluate and identify a level of microplastics in those types of water that does not pose a significant risk to health. Additionally, the bill requires OEHHA to adopt a standard methodology, requirements for the testing and reporting of microplastics in drinking water, and to adopt a primary drinking water standard for microplastics.

"Research is increasingly showing that the rapid growth of microplastics presents an existential threat to human health and the environment,” Nick Lapis, Director of Advocacy for Californians Against Waste. “This measure builds on the pioneering work of Senator Portantino's SB 1422 and SB 1263 to go beyond testing and planning to actually adopt protective standards for the water we drink, and it can't come fast enough."

SB 1147 is supported by California Environmental Voters, Californians Against Waste, A Voice For Choice Advocacy, and the California State Coalition of the Climate Reality Project.

Senator Portantino has a history of authoring environmentally friendly water bills. In 2018, he authored SB 1422, the California Safe Drinking Water Act. The bill required the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to adopt requirements for testing and reporting for four years and to adopt a definition of microplastics in drinking water. The same year, the Governor also signed Senator Portantino’s SB 1263, requiring the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) to adopt a statewide research strategy and identify early actions to reduce microplastic pollution in California’s marine environment.

SB 230 was also authored by Senator Portantino to improve consumer protection by requiring the State Water Board to gather information to understand the public health risk of contaminants in drinking water. It required the State Water Board to build upon its existing work on Constituents of Emerging Concern (CECs) and improve its knowledge of CECs in drinking water by assessing the state of information. The bill authorized the State Water Board to establish a program to ensure a unified, consistent, and science-based approach for assessing the public health and drinking water consequences of CECs, while identifying which CECs warrant further action.