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Summer 2022 special
Tuesday, July 26, 2016France

Plastic microbeads banned in 2018? Yes, but…

© L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques

It is by means of the law on biodiversity that plastic microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics were banned in France. The measure is due to take effect as from January 1, 2018, but it raises a few questions, which will need to be answered before it does enter into force.

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The measure only takes four lines, which almost went unnoticed, in the middle of the French legal text ‘pour la reconquête de la biodiversité, de la nature et des paysages’ (‘to reconquer biodiversity, nature, and landscapes’).
Still, Article 124 provides for the following paragraph to be added to the French Code of the Environment: ‘Starting no later than January 1, 2018, it will no longer be allowed to market rinse-off cosmetic products used to exfoliate or cleanse the skin containing solid plastic particles, except for natural particles not likely to survive in the environment, spread chemical or biological actives, or affect animal trophic chains.’

Australia and the United States have already taken such measures, applicable in July 2018. But in Europe, it is a first. And even if several Member States have come out in favour of a ban on plastic microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics, France would be a pioneer in terms of environmental regulations if it gives it formal legal force as soon as January 2018… which actually raises a few questions.

The issue in France

Of course, since the Law was adopted on final reading last July 20, after being studied by the two parliamentary assemblies, it is now definitive. Yet, …

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