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Technical Updates

The Issue:

Microbeads have officially been declared a Toxic Substance by the Government of Canada.  They are now item # 133 on Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Toxic Substances List.  As such, the import, export, manufacture and sale of microbead containing personal care products will be controlled and eventually prohibited.

What are Microbeads?

Microbeads are manufactured for specific purposes, including for use in personal care products (such as scrubs, bath products, facial cleaners, toothpastes). They may also be used in other consumer uses including cleaning products and printer toners and in industrial products such as abrasive media (e.g., plastic blasting), industry (e.g., oil and gas exploration, textile printing, and automotive molding), other plastic products (anti-slip, anti-blocking applications) and medical applications.

What’s the harm?

Microbeads from ‘down the drain’ (personal care) products are released into the aquatic environment after wastewater treatment. They are contributing to the significant and increasing plastic litter in our lakes, rivers and oceans which harms aquatic life.

Coming into force Schedule:

The regulations applying to microbeads are proposed to come into force as follows:

  • December 31, 2017, prohibiting the manufacture and import of microbead-containing personal care products, including cosmetics, that are used to exfoliate or cleanse, excluding non-prescription drugs and natural health products.

  • December 31, 2018, prohibiting the sale or offer for sale of microbead-containing personal care products, including cosmetics, that are used to exfoliate or cleanse, excluding non-prescription drugs and natural health products.

  • December 31, 2018, prohibiting the manufacture and import of a microbead-containing non-prescription drug or natural health product that is used to exfoliate or cleanse.

  • December 31, 2019, prohibiting the sale or offer for sale of a microbead-containing non-prescription drug or natural health product that is used to exfoliate or cleanse.

What do you need to do?

If you are an importer or exporter of the above products, be aware of and prepare for their eventual prohibition.   If you don’t know whether or not your products contain microbeads, please contact Cole International so that we can assist you or put you in touch with the appropriate Government department.  

More Information:

https://www.ec.gc.ca/lcpe-cepa/default.asp?lang=En&n=3A8EA7D7-1&offset=3&toc=show

http://www.ec.gc.ca/ese-ees/default.asp?lang=En&n=ADDA4C5F-1

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