Microbead Bill Passes Congress Without Biodegradable Plastic Exemption
This article was originally published in The Rose Sheet
The Senate passed the Microbead-Free Waters Act December 18, following House clearance earlier this month. With President Obama's signature, the legislation will establish national uniformity in cosmetic microbead regulation and a feasible phase-out schedule, but use of PHA-based microbeads, sought by manufacturers as a highly adaptable replacement option, ostensibly will not be permitted in the US.
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The European Union’s deliberations in 2021 on a proposed microplastic restriction will determine exactly what and when microplastic ingredients must be removed from cosmetic products on the EU market, likely with global ripple effects.
The future of microplastics use in the European cosmetics sector hangs in the balance as legislative efforts move forward in line with the Commission’s Plastics Strategy released in January. A key question is whether next-generation, biodegradable plastics will get caught up in any bans that transpire, limiting manufacturers’ options and dashing the hopes of emerging producers with cosmetic interests.
As in the case of plastic microbeads some four years ago, the personal-care industry finds itself in the position of having to reformulate potentially on a mass scale due to environmental rather than human safety concerns. And once again the legislation was driven in large part by shoddy science, industry says.