The manufacturing and import of toiletries containing plastic microbeads are officially banned in Canada.
According to Health Canada, the ban came into effect on January 1, 2018. The ban effects products that contain microbeads ≤ 5 mm in size, which are often found in bath and body products, skin cleansers, and toothpaste.
The sale of toiletries containing microbeads in Canada will be prohibited as of July 1, 2018, unless they are natural health products or non-prescription drugs.
“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,” said Health Canada in a statement.
The decision comes after the federal government amended the Environmental Protection Act to include microbeads in their list of “toxic substances.”
The Department of the Environment found that plastic microbeads “have shown adverse effects in aquatic organisms.”
Microbeads are washed down the sink after use and can cause harm to organisms living in different aquatic environments.
“In addition, plastic microbeads may reside in the environment for a long time and they are continuously released to the environment resulting in long-term adverse effects on biological diversity and in the ecosystem,” reads a report from the federal government. “As a precautionary step, the government is adding this substance to the List of Toxic Substances to allow for regulatory development.”
Health Canada says a full ban on microbead products, including natural health products or non-prescription drugs, will come into effect on July 1, 2019.
With files from Jenni Sheppard.