Tags: uk | microbeads | ban

UK Bans Microbeads to Stem Plastic Runoff into Oceans

Image: UK Bans Microbeads to Stem Plastic Runoff into Oceans

A UK-wide ban on the manufacture of cosmetics and care products containing tiny pieces of plastic known as "microbeads" has come into force. (Yui Mok/Press Association via AP Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 09 January 2018 04:57 PM

The UK has banned the manufacture and use of products containing plastic microbeads, making it the first nation to do so amid growing concern about how microplastics are affecting marine life.

Microbeads are often used in skincare products to encourage exfoliation. When rinsed down the drain, the microbeads end up in the seas with wastewater because they are too small to be filtered or captured, the BBC reported.

When fish swallow the microbeads, they may be making it easier for toxic chemicals to be deposited into their tissues, which people may then ingest, a 2016 Australian study in Science Alert reported.

“Microbeads are entirely unnecessary when there are so many natural alternatives available, and I am delighted that from today cosmetics manufacturers will no longer be able to add this harmful plastic to their rinse-off products,” UK Environment Minister Therese Coffey said, the BBC reported.

Rinse-off products containing microbeads will be fully banned from sale beginning in July, the BBC reported. Some have criticized the ban for not including other types of products that contain microbeads, such as sunscreen, lipstick, and paints.

Microplastics are only one type of plastic that ends up in the oceans and can harm marine life, the BBC reported. The ban does include microbead products marketed as biodegradable, because those products don’t always biodegrade fast enough to avoid damaging marine ecosystems.

Natural products including salt, coffee and whole oats can take the place of microbeads, and others made from natural products like cellulose or jojoba oil biodegrade much faster than plastics, the BBC reported.

Glitter is banned when it is in rinse-off products, but other sources of glitter like hair gel and lotion marketed to children are not included in the ban, the BBC reported.

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The United Kingdom has banned the manufacture and use of cosmetic products containing plastic microbeads, making the UK the first nation to do so amid growing concern about how microplastics are affecting marine life.
uk, microbeads, ban
291
2018-57-09
Tuesday, 09 January 2018 04:57 PM
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