Last week, US President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that bans microbeads – small, polyethylene beads used as exfoliants in beauty and personal care products – by 2018.
The man-made beads, which are commonly used in skincare products, have been under scrutiny, as they do not biodegrade, and are able to absorb toxic chemicals, which can then work their way up the food chain, as fish often mistake the beads for food.
Companies that use the beads in products must stop manufacturing them by mid-2017, with a US ban on the sale of the products set to go into effect in July, 2018.
International beauty and spa therapy standard-setter CIDESCO recently called on its global membership to replace products that use microbeads
with safer alternatives.
Steve Malkin, CEO of Planet First, a specialist in sustainable business practice, explained the issue at the time.
“You cannot remove microbeads from the environment as they are too small to catch in water treatment, and they don’t degrade,” he said.
“The danger is that they will sit in our oceans and lakes forever to be ingested by fish and molluscs, damaging our ecosystems and entering our food chain.”