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Democratic Senator: Let's regulate something that has never been regulated before.

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Filed: Timeline

Does this make sense? Or is it more encroachment on our liberties by a socialist federal government that just gets bigger and bigger every day?

CARLSTADT — You may not know they’re there, but the tiny glass beads spread over the white and yellow lines that mark lanes and divide highways could save your life — or they could threaten it.

The pinhead-sized beads, known in the industry as highway safety marking spheres, are applied to the wet paint so that they set halfway exposed. When the paint dries, countless tiny crystalline domes reflect the white or yellow lines beneath, and protect them from the moisture, dirt, motor oil and tire treads that would otherwise dull their visibility.


Officials say that some cheap, imported versions of the beads contain high levels of toxins like lead and arsenic, and actually pose a threat not only to the road crews that handle them, but also to the general public because the water that runs off roadways finds its way into groundwater supplies.

For that reason, and to protect domestic producers of relatively clean glass beads from cut-rate foreign competitors, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) plans to announce legislation that would create the first federal standards for glass beads used in highway markers.


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