EU Microplastics Proposal Could Start Cosmetics Europe’s 2019 With A Bang
The European Chemicals Agency’s proposal for restricting microplastic use, including in the cosmetics sector, is expected by Jan. 11. Cosmetics Europe has been working to promote a right-sized approach – ideally one that aligns with US regulations and voluntary industry action to date – but visibility is low as to ECHA’s intentions.
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Cosmetics Europe’s Director-General John Chave discusses “a whole clutch of errors and misunderstandings” underlying ECHA’s proposal to prohibit use of intentionally added microplastics in cosmetics. According to the exec, the agency overestimates the prevalence and promise of natural/organic formulation while underestimating compliance costs by as much as 50%.
Manufacturers of rinse-off and leave-on cosmetics would have four years and six years, respectively, to comply with ECHA’s proposed restriction on intentionally added microplastics, efforts that ECHA estimates would cost industry around $1.1bn and $7.4bn over 20 years. Microbeads in rinse-off exfoliating/cleansing cosmetics, largely phased out already, would be banned without delay.
The cosmetics industry likely will want to steer ECHA away from leave-on cosmetics and non-cleansing/exfoliating rinse-off products containing microplastic particles. NGOs and lawmakers in some European member states have called for microplastic bans that include those product categories, which would exceed prohibitions in the US and phase-outs voluntarily undertaken by industry.