US Senate passes microbead ban

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

US Senate passes microbead ban

Related tags New york

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the bill—which would definitively ban the use of microbeads in beauty products and personal care formulations—that was unanimously passed last Friday and now is in the hands of President Obama.

The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 will establish a date after which microbeads cannot be manufactured and January 1st, 2018, as the date after which products formulated with microbeads cannot be sold in the States.

For the purposes of the ban, the FDA defines plastic microbeads as “any solid plastic particle that is less than five millimeters in size and is intended to be used to exfoliate or cleanse the human body or any part thereof.”

Pollution solution

On its way to the White House, the same bill was passed earlier this month by the US House of Representatives. And, as Cosmetics Design reported​ at the time, “The downstream pollution resulting from microbeads has been the most successful driver of bead bans all along.” 

In the US, it’s the Great Lakes which are most heavily affected by post-consumer microbeads. “Lake Erie and Lake Ontario have the highest concentrations of microbeads,” reports The Plain Dealer (a newspaper out of Cleveland).    

That locale and others across the country affected by post-consumer microbead pollution are responding favorably to the bill’s progress: "Ohio's waterways, like Lake Erie, are an important source of food and we must protect their wildlife from the threat of synthetic microbeads,"​ says Senator Sherrod Campbell Brown of Ohio in that Plain Dealer item.  "By banning microbeads, we can help ensure that the food Ohioans' eat is free from toxic chemicals.”

Made without

Signature ingredients remain quite relevant, with botanical oils like marula​ and oceanic ingredients​ standing as prime examples. And effectiveness reigns supreme when it comes to a product’s success on the market.

Nonetheless, plenty of consumers make personal care purchasing decisions according to the ingredients that are not used in the formulation. This sort of consumer preference, environmental concerns and the appeal of clean beauty, are behind the microbead ban.

Consequently, more and more niche brands, non-profit groups, and retail channels are establishing their own definition of clean beauty and offering consumers only product lines that don’t contain ingredients of concern.

The EWG created a new verification seal​ for such products this fall. The Verified seal “will take awareness about chemicals in products to the next level by giving shoppers useful information from a team of scientists they have come to trust,” ​Nneka Leiba, that group’s deputy director of research told the press. “We aim to spur the development of safer products in the marketplace.”

And retailers like Whole Foods​ and Credo​ as well as subscription services like Beauty Heros are consumer favorites for clean beauty.

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