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House Approves Bill to Ban Plastic Microbeads in Cosmetics

In a move hailed by the American Chemistry Council, the House of Representative on 7 December approved legislation (H.R. 1321) to ban the manufacture and sale of rinse-off cosmetic products that contain intentionally-added plastic microbeads. The bill has been forwarded to the Senate for its consideration. If approved by the Senate and signed into law by the president, the ban would enter into force on 1 July 2017 with respect to manufacturing and 1 July 2018 with respect to the introduction or delivery for introduction of subject merchandise into interstate commerce. These deadlines would be extended by one year for rinse-off cosmetics that are non-prescription drugs.

The term “plastic microbead” is defined in the legislation as any solid plastic particle that is less than five millimetres in size and is intended to be used to exfoliate or cleanse the human body or any part thereof. The term “rinse-off cosmetic” includes toothpaste but excludes any drug subject to the requirements of section 503(b)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that is not a cosmetic.

The legislation would pre-empt the numerous state bans that have been adopted in response to the growing environmental concerns caused by plastic microbeads. At least seven U.S. states – California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland and New Jersey – have enacted bans or other restrictions on plastic microbeads in personal care products and many others are considering similar legislation.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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