Canada to say 'no thanks' to plastic microbeads in personal care products

micro beads
© 5 Gyres

Who ever thought this was a good idea?

Microbeads are small plastic particles, kind of like grains of plastic sand, usually smaller than 5 millimeters in diameter (most at or under 1mm, or 1/32th of an inch). They have become increasingly popular in all kinds of products in the recent past, and while they might help you exfoliate your face, they cause enough environmental damage that many jurisdictions are now considering partial and full bans, including the US (nothing at the federal level so far, but 8 states have passed banning legislation and 17 have bills pending).

Vast quantities of microbeads end up down the drain, many of which even get through water filtration plants and end up in waterways, subsequently making their way up the food chain...

Scientists at Environment Canada, a department of the national government, reviewed more than 130 scientific papers, consulted experts and concluded that microbeads should be added to the national list of toxic substances. This would give Canada the authority to regulate the sale, manufacture and import of microbeads. It won’t happen right away however. Three days after his microbeads announcement, Stephen Harper, Canada’s prime minister, called an election for October 19th. But both the main opposition parties have called for a ban too, so something should happen whichever party wins. The trickier point might be the government’s plan to align its policy with America’s.(source)

A 2014 study of the U.S. Great Lakes by the 5 Gyres Institute found an average of 43,000 microplastic particles per square kilometre. Near cities, the number jumped to 466,000. And since these don't degrade very well, they accumulate and the numbers become higher every year...

Here is The Story of Stuff on plastic microbeads:

Via CBC, Toronto Star

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