Great Britain: Microbeads Prohibition Takes Effect

The manufacture of cosmetics and personal care products that contain microbeads is forbidden in Great Britain as of the start of this year. As of June 2018, the same regulation also prohibits their sale.
Reports indicate that some 680 tons of microbeads in cosmetics are sold every year in Great Britain. About three of every four manufacturers have announced that they stopped production of such products at the end of last year.

In a press release from the government, England’s environmental minister, Thérèse Coffey, calls the prohibition overdue. She states that microbeads are unnecessary because adequate alternatives exist. She also says that she is pleased that manufacturers of the plastic beads are no longer permitted to use them when making rinse-off products. Such personal care products are used to cleanse the skin and hair, but are washed off with water so that they do not remain on the skin or hair.

Scientists regard microbeads as hazardous, primarily because they accumulate in marine organisms. Wastewater treatment plants are incapable of filtering the plastic beads from sewage.

ChemSafetyPRO, an information platform, provides an overview of the laws relating to microbeads in
individual countries. For more information, please see our blog entry, United States Prohibits Microbeads.

If you have any questions about microbeads or the safety of your products, please contact us at

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