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U.S. Bans Plastic Microbeads from Cosmetics

President Obama on 28 December 2015 signed into law legislation approved by Congress earlier that month to ban the manufacture and sale of rinse-off cosmetic products that contain intentionally-added plastic microbeads. The ban will 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 will be extended by one year for rinse-off cosmetics that are non-prescription drugs.

The term “plastic microbead” is defined in the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 (H.R. 1321) 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.

Importantly, the legislation pre-empts 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 had been considering similar legislation.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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