Proposed regulations for microbeads in personal care products: chapter 1

1 Introduction

1.1 Rationale

Environment and Climate Change Canada has prepared this consultation document to inform the public and stakeholders and to solicit feedback on the key elements of the proposed risk management measure for microbead-containing personal care productsFootnote 1  used to exfoliate or cleanse.

On March 24, 2015, the House of Commons voted unanimously for the government to take immediate measures to add microbeads to the List of toxic substances. To that end, the Government of Canada prioritized the review of microbeads under the Chemicals Management Plan.

In July 2015, Environment Canada completed this scientific review and analysis of over 130 scientific papers as well as consultation with experts on the impact of microbeads on the environment. This review showed that microbeads may pose a concern to the environment as they contribute to plastic litter in lakes and rivers, accumulating in the environment. In laboratory studies, microbeads have shown adverse short-term and long-term effects in aquatic organisms. The science summary concludes that microbeads are toxic to the environment under subsection 64(a) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) as they are entering or may enter the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity. A proposed order to list microbeads on the List of toxic substances was published in Canada Gazette, Part I on August 1, 2015, for a 60-day public comment period.

As well, a Notice of Intent was published on August 1, 2015, stating that Environment Canada is initiating the development of proposed regulations under CEPA to prohibit the manufacture, import, sale or offer for sale of microbead-containing personal care products that are used to exfoliate or cleanse. Comments received on the Notice of Intent are discussed further in section 6.2. The proposed regulations are intended to be developed for pre-publication in the Canada Gazette, Part I, in 2016.

1.2 Objectives and interested stakeholders

The main objective of this consultation is to invite stakeholders to provide their feedback on the proposed regulations.

The specific objectives are to:

Interested stakeholders may include non-governmental organizations, provincial and territorial government departments, and industry, particularly manufacturers, importers, retailers and associations in the personal care product industry.

The Government of Canada is committed to providing interested or affected stakeholders with the opportunity to take part in consultations at all stages of the development process. All stakeholders may comment in writing by mail, fax or email to the address provided in Section 6.4 of this document by March 10, 2016.

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