ECHA Targets Cosmetics, Leave-On And Rinse-Off Alike, With Proposed Microplastics Ban
Manufacturers of rinse-off and leave-on cosmetics would have four years and six years, respectively, to comply with ECHA’s proposed restriction on intentionally added microplastics, efforts that ECHA estimates would cost industry around $1.1bn and $7.4bn over 20 years. Microbeads in rinse-off exfoliating/cleansing cosmetics, largely phased out already, would be banned without delay.
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Cosmetics Europe Talks Microplastic: ECHA Frustrations, ‘Value Judgments’ And International Trade Uncertainty
The European Chemicals Agency's microplastic restriction proposal received committee backing in 2020 without changes sought by the cosmetics industry, which faces €15bn in projected costs and scarce alternatives at present. It may come down to EU Member States to decide whether the ECHA restriction proposal is proportionate in balancing environmental goals and socio-economic impacts.
NGOs claim the European Chemicals Agency’s proposal for restricting microplastics in cosmetics and other products could “make a growing problem worse” by excluding particles smaller than 100 nanometers. The agency clapped back on 1 September, maintaining its proposal was developed in a scientific manner based on input from all stakeholders, including NGOs.
Biodegradable plastic alternatives for use in cosmetic products were left unaddressed, and thus arguably unusable, under the US Microbead-Free Waters Act enacted in late 2015. European industry stakeholders now face the prospect of a far more extensive microplastic ban, and the viability of bioplastics to replace conventional, petroleum-based microplastics is an area in need of work.