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UK Issues Ban on Microbeads in Personal Care Products

January 10, 2018
The UK government officially banned microbeads in manufacturing of personal care products and cosmetics. Image courtesy of Flickr user mpcaphotos.
The UK government officially banned microbeads in manufacturing of personal care products and cosmetics. Image courtesy of Flickr user mpcaphotos.

The U.K. government recently announced that a ban on the use of microbeads in personal care products and cosmetics in the country is now in effect and touted the effort as “one of the world’s toughest bans” on the material.

Though the public can still purchase products containing microbeads currently on British store shelves, as of Tuesday, U.K. manufacturers of products like toothpastes and face scrubs are barred from adding the plastic microbeads, the government said in a press release. Officials said the ban will help prevent harm to marine life and reduce overall plastic pollution generated in the UK.

“Microbeads are entirely unnecessary when there are so many natural alternatives available, and I am delighted that from today cosmetics manufacturers will no longer be able to add this harmful plastic to their rinse-off products,” said U.K. Environment Minister Therese Coffey in a statement. “Now we have reached this important milestone, we will explore how we can build on our world-leading ban and tackle other forms of plastic waste.”

The government said a further ban on sales of microbead-containing products is expected later this year. A similar effort in the United States banned microbeads in similar products under the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which mandated that manufacturers halt use of the plastics by July 2017. Canada also has a ban on manufacturing personal care products with microbeads that recently went into effect.

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