There’s a change coming to some of your favorite personal hygiene products, one that could have a huge environmental impact. Tiny plastic microbeads, often added to beauty products such as bath gels, facial scrubs and toothpastes as an abrasive, have been banned under a new law.

The problem with these beads, which are less than five millimeters wide, is that they slip through wastewater treatment systems and into waterways. There, they attract harmful chemicals, such as PCBs, which stick to them and become concentrated, according to the New York Times.

Small fish may mistake the beads for food, which means when we eat seafood we may be eating plastic. A recent study from the University of California, Davis, found one quarter of fish purchased at California markets had ingested plastic.

The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 mandates that companies stop using the beads starting July 2017. Illinois became the first state to ban microbeads in 2014, followed by Maine, New Jersey, Colorado, Maryland, Indiana and California. Many other states were considering a ban. The New York Times reports:

“The cosmetics industry has been under fire from environmental activists for years over the use of the beads, and all of the major companies had already announced initiatives to phase them out, noted Sean Moore, an official of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association in Washington.”

“Our oceans are inundated with microplastics that threaten sea birds, turtles and other marine wildlife. Now we can stop adding to the trillions of pieces already out there,” said Blake Kopcho, oceans campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity, in a press release. “This will eliminate a pointless and harmful source of plastic pollution before it ever has a chance to reach the oceans.”

The Great Lakes have been most affected by microbeads. Lakes Erie and Ontario have the highest concentrations of microbeads of any U.S. waters, according to the Environmental News Service. Scientists from the State University of New York found Lake Erie had about 46,000 particles of plastic per square kilometer, compared to about 6,000 to 8,000 particles over the same area in lakes Superior and Huron and about 17,000 particles in Lake Michigan.

Related: Plastic: A Bunch of Seriously Good Reasons to Just Say No

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Angela is a Pulitzer Prize-winning digital editor with more than 15 years of experience delivering news and information to audiences worldwide. Prior to joining SafeBee, she was the features editor for Boston.com at The Boston Globe, overseeing health, travel, entertainment, business and lifestyle coverage. Before moving to features, she was the news and homepage editor, covering stories such as the Boston Marathon bombing, Red Sox World Series victories, presidential elections, a papal inauguration, and more. Her favorite safety tip: Clean your phone! The average cell phone has 18 times more germs than the toilet handle in a men’s restroom.