European Commission has made significant progress in combating microplastics in cosmetic products, by adopting measures that restrict microplastics intentionally added to products under the EU chemical legislation REACH.
The adopted restriction uses a broad definition of microplastics – it covers all synthetic polymer particles below five millimeters that are organic, insoluble, and resist degradation.
The new rules will prevent the release into the environment of about half a million tonnes of microplastics.
The aim is to prohibit the sale of microplastics as such and of products to which microplastics have been intentionally added and that release those microplastics when used.
Which Products Are Affected? Examples:
– Cosmetics, where microplastics is used for multiple purposes, such as exfoliation (microbeads) or obtaining a specific texture, fragrance or color.
– Detergents, fabric softeners, glitter, fertilizers, plant protection products, toys, medicines, and medical devices, just to name a few.
– The granular infill material used on artificial sports surfaces – the largest source of intentional microplastics in the environment.
This restriction will come into force once it is published in the Official Journal of the European Union; publication in this journal is expected later this week.
For cosmetics containing #microbeads (tiny plastic beads used for exfoliation), the sale ban applies immediately. For rinse-off and leave-on cosmetic products without microbeads, a 4-year and a 6-year transitional period.
However, microparticles encapsulated in fragrances have a transitional period of 5 or 8 years.
Restriction will be enforced within both the EU and Northern Ireland.
There is currently no restriction proposal for microplastics under UK REACH for the GB market. Nevertheless, the Health and Safety Executive is going to start an evidence project that will inform any Regulatory Management Option Analysis under #UK REACH.
An informal Q&A document is available on the Commission website to collect many questions and replies which help with their implementation and enforcement.
Click HERE to get more information.