The Canadian government has published a proposed Order to add
plastic microbeads to the Toxic Substances List and has announced
it is developing regulations to ban their use.
Microbeads are synthetic polymer particles manufactured to be
larger than 0.1 micrometer and smaller than or equal to five
millimeters and are commonly used in personal care products such as
scrubs, bath products, facial cleaners and toothpastes. Environment
Canada studies consider microbeads to be eco-toxic but there is no
evidence of human health concerns linked to the release of
microbeads into the environment.
Once microbeads are added to the Toxic Substances List under the
Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA), the
government intends to introduce regulations to reduce the release
of microbeads into the environment. The proposed regulations would
Manufacture of microbeads in Canada
Import of microbeads to Canada
Sale and offer for sale of microbead containing personal care
products used to exfoliate or cleanse in Canada
The recent government news release confirms that a survey of industry
stakeholders will be undertaken to gather specific information
required to support the planned actions on microbeads. No date has
been specified at this stage for the implementation of this new
The government has also issued a Notice under section 71(1)(b)
of CEPA requiring persons who imported, exported or used a total of
more than 10 kg of microbeads in 2014 to provide the government
with information relating to such import, export and use.
These new measures are part of the government's Chemical
Management Plan, which commits to address 4,300 priority chemicals
and the risks that they pose to the health of Canadians and the
environment. To date, 2,700 chemicals have been
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