Plastic microbeads to be banned in toiletries as of July 1st 2018

Plastic microbeads to be banned in toiletries as of July 1st 2018
(ban in natural health products and non-prescription drugs as of July 1
st 2019)

On November 4th, 2016 the federal government published its draft regulations to ban the sale of microbeads in toiletries (personal care products). We at Ottawa Riverkeeper are celebrating this most recent step on the path to prevent this type of plastic pollution from entering our waters. All that is left now is for us to submit our comments on the draft. The final regulations are expected to be published in the spring of 2017.

We were very happy to see that our main comment on the earlier released proposed regulations was incorporated into the draft regulations:  that the timelines for implementation be moved up to align with the timelines set out in the American law to ban microbeads, which was passed at the end of 2015.  Our concern here was that, otherwise, Canada could become a dumping ground for any products containing microbeads that could no longer be sold in the United States and that, regardless, we should move as quickly as possible to put this ban into effect.  This follows success we had at an earlier stage in this process, when we urged the government to ban all microbeads up to a size of 5mm, and not to exclude from the regulation so-called “biodegradable” plastics (as there is no evidence they actually biodegrade in our cold waters, where they end up).

The relatively quick action and good result in this case is in large part due to the involvement of concerned people like you, who made it clear they wanted action on this issue.  We, along with other Canadian environmental organizations, organized letter writing campaigns and encouraged our supporters to tell the government to enact an effective, timely ban against microbeads in personal care products.  Thank you to all of you who took the time to let your views be known – we knew the science was behind us, we knew international momentum was with us, and you let the government know how much river lovers like you supported this ban!

Clearly, much more needs to be done about the extent of plastic pollution in our rivers, lakes, and oceans.  The study  we conducted this summer, with the help of our Riverwatchers and researchers at Carleton University, showed the extent of microplastic fibres – often from clothing – in our waters.  We will look for ways to continue our work on this issue where we think we can make an important contribution.  Please consider donating to our work – every little bit counts and we rely on supporters like you to keep working to ensure the Ottawa River and its tributaries remain swimmable, drinkable, and fishable for generations to come.

Once again, thank you!


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Featured Image: Lake Ontario Waterkeeper