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Environment

Australia to stop, New Jersey to ban: towards the end of plastic microbeads in cosmetics?

The end of the plastic beads in cosmetics seems to be closer than ever. Several pieces of legislation intending to prohibit their use have been adopted, or are under discussion, in various parts of the world. Many manufacturers have also announced they will voluntarily stop their use. In parallel, suppliers are multiplying eco-friendly alternatives.

The latest news regarding the withdrawal of polyethylene beads from cosmetic and personal care products came from Australia. In a statement dated November 21, Accord, Australia’s industry association for the hygiene, cosmetic and specialty products industry, announced that the local operators are committed to working towards a phase-out of polyethylene microbeads by the end of 2017.

Plastic microbeads are used in cosmetic and personal care products - (...)

Plastic microbeads are used in cosmetic and personal care products - including facial scrubs, body washes, hand cleansers, and toothpaste - because of their safe and effective exfoliating properties. However, concerns regarding their safety for water and marine living organisms have arose over the latest years.

Accord says its decision reflects both the importance of environmental protection for the Australian industry and the need to adapt to a change in market conditions as several U.S. states are considering a ban on these substances. This summer, Illinois was the first state to adopt a binding legislation on this subject.

Consensus in the US

In August, the Council of State Governments (CSG), a U.S. body that monitors and highlights innovative legislation from one state that may be beneficial to other states, has added the new Illinois’ law into its annual Suggested State Legislation (SSL) volume. This decision was applauded by the Personal Care Products Council, the leading trade association representing the cosmetic and personal care products industry in the U.S.

The nation’s personal care products companies are pleased to support efforts that demonstrate their longstanding commitment to the global stewardship of their products. We urge policy makers to work with all sectors of the business community as they seek to eliminate plastic waste in our waterways and to identify effective and realistic solutions that consider the existing and emerging science as it becomes available,” the Personal Care Products Council stated. Actually, a ban on the manufacture and sale of plastic microbeads used in personal care products by December 2017, as specified in the Illinois’ legislation, seem to be acceptable for the US association.

Most recently, the New Jersey Senate voted the final text of the A3083 Diegnan, Moriarty bill, which aims to ban the production of cosmetics containing plastic beads from 1 January 2018 and to prohibit the presence of such products on the market after 1 January 2019.

The text is now awaiting New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s approval.

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