The microbeads ban: because, sometimes, size really matters


On the 28th December 2015, the US President Barack Obama signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act, banning the usage of “microbeads” in cosmetics products. The decision had been expected, and many manufacturers have acted proactively, rapidly turning to natural alternatives, Now, as the ban will begin to take effect next year, we report on the current situation and possible developments worldwide.

Few words, many consequences
“Prohibition against sale or distribution of rinse-off cosmetics containing plastic microbeads”: this is the headline of section 2 of the Act known as “the Microbead-Free Waters Act” (a complete version is available on page XX). The ban will be effective on production starting from the 1st of July 2017, followed by product-specific manufacturing and sales bans in the following years.
This decision was far from being a bolt out of the blue, it had actually been the muchexpected conclusion of an awareness-raising process which had started a few years before and which also shows how how scientific research, public opinion and the “green marketing” approach can build the right pressure to drive the law-making process.
They’ve always been there, though you might have not noticed
Microbeads have been used in the cosmetic industry for over 50 years. Besides the expected use in scrubs, they also suit other non-scrub uses and thus can also be found in deodorants, shampoos, conditioners, shower gels, lipsticks, hair colouring, shaving creams, sunscreens, insect repellents, anti-wrinkle creamss, moistu ...