SAFEGUARDS | Cosmetics, Personal Care & Household NO. 164/15

SafeGuards Exfoliating

Spurred by preliminary studies indicating that plastic microbeads are accumulating in our waterways with the potential of negatively affecting aquatic ecosystems, state, local and national governments in US and Canada are taking action to ban the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products.

In June 2014, Illinois was the first US state to ban the manufacture for sale or acceptance for sale of any personal care product containing synthetic plastic micro-beads. The timelines for the Illinois law to go into effect will be implemented in phases with the ban of manufacture by end of 2018 and ban the sale of products by end of 2019 [1] [2].

Growing List of US State Microbead Bans

Since then local governments such as Erie County, New York [3] and several states including Colorado [4], Connecticut [5], Indiana [6], Maine [7], New Jersey [8], Wisconsin [9] have followed suit with microbead bans and legislation pending in several other states. Most recently, California legislation passed in the senate 8 September 2015 has been enrolled and presented to the governor [10].   

The terms of these laws typically include a time-phased implementation, detailing the dates when each phase of the ban goes into effect.  The majority of laws include a ban on manufacture and sale of products containing plastic microbeads, but some focus only on plastics that are not biodegradable while others may include the prohibition of products for promotional purposes or indicate the possibility that future similar action will be taken for OTC drugs [3] [10].

National Regulations Proposed

In early March of this year the “Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015’’ was submitted to the United States congress for consideration. If enacted, the Act will “prohibit the sale or distribution of cosmetics containing synthetic plastic microbeads” [11] [12]. The Canadian government has taken measures as well by proposing that microbeads ”defined as synthetic polymer particles that, at the time of their manufacture, are greater than 0.1 μm and less than or equal to 5 mm in size,” be added to the List of Toxic Substances in Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) [13].

It is crucial for all cosmetic, personal care and household products to be safe effective and stable. SGS provides testing, inspection, auditing and consulting services to manufacturers, distributors and importers to ensure a high level of product quality in every area. Our state of the art laboratories offer custom-made solutions for chemical, biophysical, microbiological, stability and biological aspects. We also have extensive capabilities in performance testing, claim support studies and consumer panels. Our testing is conducted according to customer specific or recognised standard methods, some of which were developed by SGS. Our cosmetic safety assessors and other technical experts can support customers by making sure new products comply with regulatory requirements.

Fore enquiries, please contact:

Karen Rauen
Technical Director Cosmetics, personal Care and Household (CPCH)
t: +1 973 461 1207

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