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Canada's microbead ban has officially begun

Sydney Borton
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, July 3, 2018, 5:20 PM - After nearly two years in the making, Canada has finally enacted the ban on microplastics in toiletries.

As of July 1st, the manufacture, import, and sale of most toiletries that contain microbeads are all banned. Product exceptions include natural health products and over-the-counter drugs.

Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment & Climate Change, shared the news of the official ban on Canada Day via Twitter.

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Microplastics are included in many skincare and body care products as an exfoliant. They can be found in face and body scrubs, toothpastes, shampoos, and even make up products, among others. They are less than 5mm in size and are easily washed into lakes, rivers, and oceans through your bathroom sink. Once they’re in water, they create pollutions that take hundreds of years to discintegrate.

Beat the Microbead, a non-profit organization run by the Plastic Soup Foundation, has a handy list of bath and body products that don't contain microbeads to make shopping easier.

Photo: Beat the Microbead

The ban is the final step of a nearly two year process by the Canadian government. In November 2016, the microbead in toiletries ban was proposed, followed by a 75-day public comment period. An implementation timeline was soon established.

Photo: Government of Canada

“They’re in every lake, river, and stream,” said Sarah Warrack, a graduate student studying microplastics. “They’re also on land. They’re everywhere.”

Warrack told CTV Winnipeg to look for ingredients starting with “poly” to avoid using microplastics in your toiletry products. “Usually, [the word ‘poly’] means plastic.”


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