Canada finalizes microbead ban

Canada finalizes microbead ban

The government published its Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations this month and the formal ban will go into effect in phases, beginning in January of 2018.

Environmental Defence Canada, an education, research, and action group working in the country is celebrating the ban as a victory for the environment and for Canada. In a statement to the press, the group “applauds the federal government’s ban of microbeads in personal care products. These plastic bits that have unnecessarily filled exfoliating washes will no longer pollute our waterways and choke fish and wildlife.”

The statement also hints that as microbead bans take effect in various countries around the world, countries where no ban exists (yet) will be seen as opportunity markets to sell existing inventory of product made with the ingredient. “[the ban] timeline will ensure that Canada will not become a dumping ground for products that will be banned in the U.S.,” notes the Environmental Defence release.

Dates and deadlines

Beginning January 1, 2018 personal care products made with microbeads will not be allowed to be sold or manufactured in Canada. For the purposes of the ban microbeads are 5mm or smaller.

Sale of such products will be forbidden in Canada as of July 1, 2018. The ban has been carefully scheduled so as not to cause hardship to the personal care industry. “The proposed Regulations are not expected to significantly impact the personal care product sector in Canada, as information provided to the Government in March 2016 suggested that toiletries that do not contain plastic microbeads were already becoming available to consumers in Canada,” according to a government’s statement issued last November when the new regulations were being drafted.

Scapegoat or first step

While many beauty industry insiders argue that environmental pollution from microbeads in personal care products is negligible compared to the impact made by other industries, for groups like Environmental Defence, the microbead ban is only a small step on a long journey toward meaningful environmental protection.

The group closes its press statement about the impending ban in Canada by saying, “We urge the federal government to strengthen our toxic chemical regulations in order to protect our health and environment from the impacts of pollution.”

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