Monday, September 5, 2016News

UK MPs call for ban on plastic microbeads

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The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, a UK cross-party committee of MPs, has called for a ban on plastic microbeads in cosmetics, and said the ban should preferably be at EU level. However if this is not possible, after the UK's Brexit vote, the British government should introduce a national ban.

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Article updated on September 06, 2016

Cosmetic firms should be prohibited from using microbeads in bathroom products such as toothpaste and facial scrubs, the Committee said, because the beads pollute oceans and lakes and are ingested by wildlife. A worldwide ban on plastic microbeads in cosmetics should be imposed as soon as possible, MPs have demanded.

The Environmental Audit Committee said the tiny balls of plastic used in shower gels and facial scrubs can even be found in Arctic sea-ice and on the ocean floor. ‘Shockingly, a plate of six oysters can contain up to 50 particles of plastic,’ said committee chair Mary Creagh.

The government said it will consider a ban on microbeads in cosmetics if the EU doesn’t legislate against them. But the MPs want ministers to take a firmer position on this growing problem, because they think ‘cosmetic companies voluntary approach to phasing out plastic microbeads simply won’t wash’ and there is a need for a full legal ban.

‘Many leading manufacturers have already taken voluntary steps to remove microbeads from cosmetics, beauty products and toothpastes. We will now consider what further action is appropriate, and make any announcements in due course,’ a spokesperson for the …

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