Restriction

Global Ban on Microbeads in Personal Care Products

Little Pro on 2017-08-08 Views:  Update:2018-12-06

Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastics (diameters usually less than 5mm) used as exfoliants and cleansers in personal care products such as shower gels and tooth pastes. The most commonly used microbeads are polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PPE) and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). Those microbeads degrade very slowly and can go down the drain and enter our lakes, rivers, and oceans. They may absorb toxins in the water, be eaten by marine life and eventually enter our food chain. Many countries have banned or planned to ban microbeads in personal care products. In this article, we will summarize the latest status of global ban on microbeads in personal care products. US, Canada, EU, UK, Japan, China and Korea are included.

USA

President Obama signed Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 into law in Dec 2015. The US will ban the production of rinse-off cosmetic products (including toothpastes) containing plastic microbeads from July 2017. The sales of rinse-off cosmetics containing microbeads will be banned from July 2018 and the sales of nonprescription drugs containing microbeads will be banned from July 2019.

Reference:  Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015

Canada

In June 2017, the Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations were published in the official Canada Gazette. The regulations will prohibit the manufacture, import, and sale of toiletries used to exfoliate or cleanse that contain plastic microbeads, including non-prescription drugs and natural health products.

As of January 1, 2018, the manufacture and import of toiletries that contain plastic microbeads will be prohibited unless the toiletries are also natural health products or non-prescription drugs, in which case the prohibition will begin July 1, 2018.

As of July 1, 2018, the sale of toiletries that contain plastic microbeads will be prohibited, unless the toiletries are also natural health products or non-prescription drugs, in which case the prohibition will begin July 1, 2019.

Reference: The Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations (2017)

EU

There is no regional legislation on banning microbeads in EU yet. Several EU member states such as UK, Sweden, France have already introduced bans on some intentionally added microplastics in rinse-off cosmetics.

EU Commission has already planned a ban on intentionally added micro-plastics in cosmetics, personal care products, detergents and cleaning products by 2020. They are also proposing that companies release less micro-plastics when producing products such as textiles, tyres, paint and cigarette butts.

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South Korea

In Oct 2016, the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) has notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of its ‘Proposed Amendments to the “Regulation on Safety Standards etc of Cosmetics”. If coming into force, the proposed amendments would ban the use of microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics from July 2017.

Reference: Regulations Submitted to the WTO (2016)

New Zealand

In March 2017, New Zealand submitted to WTO a consultation document aimed to manage microbeads in personal care products. The Government is considering to prohibit or control the manufacture and sale of cosmetics containing microbeads. This measure is planned to enter into force on 1 July 2018.

Reference: WTO consultation document (2017)

China, Japan, Taiwan

No regulatory action taken yet.

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