Toiletry manufacturers adverse to the thought of costly product recalls might want to check if they are currently selling any products with microbeads.
Proposed changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act would prohibit the sale of shower gels, toothpaste and facial scrubs that contain plastic microbeads starting July 01, 2018. Natural health products and non-prescription drugs with microbeads will also be outlawed a year later, July 01, 2019.
The Canadian Press
reported that Environment Canada had been studying how microbeads affect ecology and wildlife since March, 2015. The agency finally declared the supposedly exfoliating ingredient toxic in June. As tiny pieces of plastic no bigger than five millimetres in size, microbeads do not dissolve. After use, they can find their way into oceans, lakes, and rivers where they can be ingested by wildlife.
Roughly 100,000 kilograms of plastic microbeads were imported into Canada for exfoliants and cleansers, and as much as 10,000 more kilograms were used in manufacturing domestic personal care products, The Canadian Press
Under the planned legislation change, the manufacture and import of microbeads will be banned at the beginning of 2018, with the sales ban starting in July.
The federal government’s decision to ban microbeads follows a similar move by the US to remove all products with traces of the pollutant. US Congress approved the banning of microbeads last December, effective July 01, 2017.
“We are happy to finally say goodbye to these problematic plastic particles that have polluted Canada’s rivers and lakes for far too long, putting fish, wildlife and human health at risk,” commented Environmental Defence spokesperson Maggie MacDonald in a release.
Most Canadian manufacturers responsible for nearly all the plastic microbeads used in 2014 have already committed to a voluntary discontinuation by the time the ban comes into effect, the Canadian Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association said.
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