BeautyPoliticsSustainabilityUpdated Laws

E.U. Moves to Ban Plastic Microbeads from Beauty Products

Good news, the global movement for better beauty laws is taking hold! The European Union, highly regarded for having higher restrictions on ingredients in personal care products than the rest of the world, has moved to ban plastic microbeads from personal care products.

Microplastic, whether from our skin care products or athletic gear, is being considered a serious new source of water pollution, ending up in the fish we eat and water we drink. As a result, governments are taking action and the U.S. passed the Microbeads Free Water Act, which went into effect January 1, 2018.

Why Plastic Microbeads Are Bad

  • Microbeads cannot be filtered by most waste water treatment facilities, flowing from the bathroom sink into lakes and rivers.
  • According to the advocacy organization Plastic Free Seas, the average person washes 17,000 bits of plastic down the drain, every time they use a face wash with plastic microbeads.
  • According to 5 Gyres, “In the United States, we release 8 billion plastic microbeads into the environment each day. That’s nearly 3 trillion each year.”
  • Most plastic is sourced from petroleum feedstock and some leach hormone-disrupting chemicals.
  • Approximate 663 different fish species are polluted with microbeads, impacting the food we eat!
  • Plastic pollution in the ocean absorbs toxic chemicals, in fact more than 1 million times the than the water that surrounds it.
  • Toothpaste formulated with microbeads came under attack by dentists who faced plastic pellets stuck between patients teeth and gums.

Companies Taking a Stand

Many companies have taken a stand against using plastic microbeads, either changing their formulations, or chose to never use microplastic in their skin care formulations. Leading safer beauty brands use a host of naturally exfoliating materials like jojoba beads, sugar, and ground nuts.

You can find my favorite safer exfoliators HERE and read more about brands creating safer products HERE.

The E.U. is finally taking note and is moving in the right direction. Stay tuned for more developments on when the European action goes into effect!

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