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Archived - Harper Government to ban microbeads in personal care products

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July 30, 2015 – Toronto, Ontario – Environment Canada

The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Canada’s Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, today announced that the Government is developing regulations to prohibit plastic microbeads in personal care products.

A thorough scientific review that included an analysis of over 130 scientific papers as well as consultations with experts revealed that the presence of microbeads in the environment may have long-term effects on biological diversity and ecosystems.

A proposed Order to add microbeads to the List of Toxic Substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA, 1999),will be published. Adding microbeads to the List of Toxic Substances extends the range of possible tools that can be used to reduce their release into the environment. This important step will provide the Government of Canada with the authority to use regulations under CEPA, 1999. The Government of Canada will also publish a notice of intent to develop regulations under CEPA, 1999, that would prohibit the manufacture, import, sale and offer for sale of microbead-containing personal care products used to exfoliate or cleanse. A survey of industry stakeholders will gather specific information needed to support planned actions on microbeads.

Quick Facts

  • Microbeads are synthetic polymer particles manufactured to be larger than 0.1 micrometer and smaller than or equal to 5 millimeters in size for specific purposes.
  • Microbeads are used in a range of applications including personal care products such as skin care lotions, cosmetics, toothpastes, shampoos, exfoliating creams and certain over‑the-counter drugs.
  • Microbeads enter the environment primarily through effluent from wastewater treatment plants as a result of products being released down the drain.
  • Microbeads are a contributor of plastic litter and have been measured in the Canadian environment.
  • Budget 2015 commits to provide $491.8 million over five years, beginning in 2016, to complete assessments of the remaining chemicals under the Chemicals Management Plan.
  • Since 2006, the Government of Canada has invested more than $219 million to support water-quality initiatives for the Great Lakes.

Quotes

“Banning microbeads from personal care products will help us to continue protecting the environment for present and future generations. We will continue to take action to keep Canada’s lakes and rivers clean, and put the priorities of Canadians first.”

– The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, P.C., O.Ont., M.P., Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women

“Our Government is committed to protecting the environment and standing up for Canadian families. Microbeads can have an adverse impact on the environment so I am proud that our Government is taking decisive action to stop the release of this toxic substance into our waters.”

– The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council

Related Products

Backgrounder—Harper Government to ban microbeads in personal care products

Associated Link

Scientific Summary on Microbeads

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