Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wants the Environmental Protection Agency to list microbeads as Great Lakes contaminants.
Microbeads in personal care products like facial scrubs and hand cleaners can wash into water bodies, where they can be ingested by birds and fish.
Gillibrand argues that microbeads could have a devastating effect on the Great Lakes fish populations and the related tourism industry. She said a recent report identified thousands of plastic particles per square kilometer in Lake Erie and up to 1.1 million particles per square kilometer in Lake Ontario.
Microbeads have been banned from personal care products in Illinois.
New York and several other states are considering similar bans.