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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Are You Compliant? Microbeads in Toiletries Ban Incoming

Do you manufacture, import or sell toiletries? Canada has banned microbes in toiletries.

The Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations contains a retail ban on certain toiletry products containing plastic microbeads, which can include bath and body products, toothpastes and exfoliants.

On June 14, 2017, the Government of Canada published the Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations. The Regulations ban the manufacture, import, and sale of toiletries that contain plastic microbeads. The prohibition timelines are presented in the table below. These Regulations are designed to prevent the release of plastic microbeads from toiletries that rinse off and wash down household drains, contributing to plastic pollution in our oceans, rivers and lakes.

What toiletries are covered by the Regulations?

For these Regulations, toiletries are any personal hair, skin, teeth or mouth care products for cleansing or hygiene, including exfoliants.

What are microbeads?

The Government of Canada has added plastic microbeads that are equal to or less than 5 millimetres in size to its list of toxic substances. For the purposes of the Regulations, microbeads include any solid plastic particles that correspond to that size.

Exclusions

The Regulations do not apply to toiletries that are transiting through Canada, or that are prescription drugs as defined by the Food and Drug Regulations.

How can you identify toiletries that contain plastic microbeads?

“Microbeads” might not be clearly identified on a product’s label, however, plastic ingredients from which microbeads are made may be listed. 

Some common ingredients and words to look for to identify microbeads used in exfoliating and cleansing toiletries include: 

polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephtalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), nylon. 

The prohibition applies to microbeads made from other plastics as well, including bioplastics such as: 

polylactic acid (PLA), poly-hydroxy-alkanoate (PHA) or poly-hydroxy-butyrate (PHB). 

If it is not clear whether a product contains microbeads, importers and retailers should verify with the manufacturer.

What can you do?

As a manufacturer, an importer or a retailer, it is your responsibility to know what is in the toiletries you are making or supplying. Here are suggestions to help you comply with the Regulations.

Manufacturers

  • Ensure you do not add plastic microbeads to the toiletries you are making after the prohibition dates.

Retailers and importers

  • Contact your suppliers and manufacturers.
  • Look at your products on the shelves or in your shipments for clues on whether they contain plastic microbeads.
  • Ensure you do not import or sell toiletries containing plastic microbeads after the prohibition starts.

Download the fact sheet