A ban on environmentally damaging microbeads is a step closer to reality. The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee has unanimously passed legislation cosponsored by Chairman Fred Upton of St. Joseph. He says it's designed to help protect the Great Lakes. The beads are used in soap, face wash and toothpaste and are small enough to get through water treatment systems. Once into the water, they're mistaken for food and eaten by fish.