Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations: frequently asked questions

1. What is the purpose of these regulations?

  • The purpose of these regulations is to prevent the release of plastic microbeads from toiletries that wash down household drains and contribute to plastic pollution in our oceans, rivers and lakes.
  • The types of toiletries covered include products used for exfoliating or cleansing such as bath and body products, skin cleansers and toothpaste.

2. What are the key elements of these regulations?

  • The Regulations will prohibit the manufacture, import and sale of toiletries that contain plastic microbeads including cosmetics, non-prescription drugs and natural health products.
  • Microbeads have been added to Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA), and are defined as: plastic microbeads that are equal to or less than 5 millimetres in size.   
  • Toiletry means any personal hair, skin, teeth or mouth care products for cleansing or hygiene, including exfoliants and any of those products that is also a natural health product as defined in the Natural Health Products Regulations or a non-prescription drug.
  • The Regulations do not apply to a toiletry that contains plastic microbeads that is in transit through Canada or is a prescription drug within the meaning of "prescription drug" under the Food and Drug Regulations.

3. How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?

  • The Regulations apply to any person who manufactures, imports, or sells toiletries that contain plastic microbeads including cosmetics, non-prescription drugs and natural health products.
  • The Regulations do not require regulatees to submit reports or conduct product testing to comply with the Regulations. However, the onus is on regulatees to ensure that the toiletries they import, manufacture, or sell do not contain plastic microbeads. The determination of the presence of microbeads performed for the purposes of these Regulations must be performed by an accredited laboratory.

4. What is the timeline for implementation?

Requirement Deadline Date
Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations come into force January 1, 2018
Manufacture and import of toiletries containing microbeads prohibited (excluding natural health products and non-prescription drugs) January 1, 2018
Manufacture and import of toiletries containing microbeads prohibited (including natural health products and non-prescription drugs) July 1, 2018
Sale of toiletries containing microbeads prohibited (excluding natural health products and  non-prescription drugs) July 1, 2018
Sale of toiletries containing microbeads prohibited (including natural health products and  non-prescription drugs) July 1, 2019

5. Where can I get more information?

The Regulations can be found in the Canada Gazette.

Further information is available on the Government of Canada’s actions on microbeads.

Questions can be submitted by mail or email:

Products Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Place Vincent Massey, 9th Floor
351 St-Joseph Boulevard
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H3

ec.produits-products.ec@canada.ca

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