Microbeads

Microbeads are defined as plastic microbeads that are ≤ 5 mm in size and are used in many products, including toiletries such as bath and body products, skin cleansers and toothpaste.

Because of potential environmental concerns, the Government of Canada prioritized the review and regulation of microbeads.

Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations

In June 2017, the Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations  were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II: Vol. 151, No. 12 - June 14, 2017 (PDF version 4,285 K). These regulations will help protect the environment by reducing the quantity of plastic microbeads entering Canadian freshwater and marine ecosystems.

The regulations will prohibit the manufacture, import, and sale of toiletries used to exfoliate or cleanse that contain plastic microbeads, including non-prescription drugs and natural health products. For the purposes of the regulations, plastic microbeads include any plastic particle equal to or less than 5 mm in size. The types of toiletries covered include products such as bath and body products, skin cleansers and toothpaste.

As of January 1, 2018, the manufacture and import of toiletries that contain plastic microbeads will be prohibited unless the toiletries are also natural health products or non-prescription drugs, in which case the prohibition will begin July 1, 2018.

As of July 1, 2018, the sale of toiletries that contain plastic microbeads will be prohibited, unless the toiletries are also natural health products or non-prescription drugs, in which case the prohibition will begin July 1, 2019.

In November 2016, the proposed Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 150, No. 45 on November 5, 2016 (PDF Version 1,550 K) for a 75-day public comment period.

Consultation document for proposed regulations

In February 2016 Environment and Climate Change Canada published a Consultation Document on Proposed Regulations for Microbeads in Personal Care Products Used to Exfoliate or Cleanse for a 30-day public comment period.

Adding substances to Schedule 1

Microbeads have been included in a final order to add to Schedule 1.

Microbeads are listed on Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) as plastic microbeads that are ≤ 5 mm in size. The Schedule 1 listing name was modified to align with the Government of Canada s intentions to control plastic microbeads in personal care products.

Microbeads science summary

In July 2015, the Science Summary for Microbeads was posted on Environment Canada's website. The related notice was published in August 2015 in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 149, No. 31 - August 1, 2015 (PDF version 520 K)

The report recommends that microbeads be considered to meet one or more of the criteria set out in section 64 of CEPA 1999. On this basis, the Department of the Environment published a notice of intent indicating that it is initiating the development of proposed regulations under CEPA 1999 to prohibit the manufacture, import, sale and offer for sale of microbead-containing personal care products that are used to exfoliate or cleanse.

Mandatory survey - section 71 notice

In August 2015, a notice was issued in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 149, No. 31 - August 1, 2015 (PDF version 520 K) under section 71 of CEPA 1999. The notice applied to microbead-containing personal care products that are used for exfoliating or cleansing the body.

The purpose of the section 71 notice was to obtain information on the import, export and use activities of microbeads for the 2014 calendar year. This data is essential for risk management and will ensure decisions made are based on the most relevant and up-to-date information available.

Timelines
Date Activity
June 14, 2017 Publication in the Canada Gazette of the Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations.
November 5, 2016 Publication in the Canada Gazette of the Proposed Microbeads in Toiletries Regulation, and start of a 75-day public comment period.
June 29, 2016 Publication in the Canada Gazette of the final order adding plastic microbeads to Schedule 1, under CEPA 1999.
February 9, 2016 Publication of a Consultation Document on the Proposed Regulations for Microbeads in Personal Care Products Used to Exfoliate or Cleanse and start of a 30-day public comment period.
August 1, 2015 Publication in the Canada Gazette of the proposed order adding microbeads to Schedule 1, under CEPA 1999, and start of a 60-day public comment period.
August 1, 2015 Publication of a synopsis of the science summary report in the Canada Gazette.
August 1, 2015 Publication in the Canada Gazette of the notice with respect to microbeads in certain personal care applications, under section 71 of CEPA 1999, and start of a 75-day response period.
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