The federal government says it will ban the sale of personal hygiene products containing plastic microbeads in Canada on July 1, 2018.
In a notice published Friday, officials highlighted shower gel, toothpaste, and facial scrub products under the ban. Microbeads found in natural health products and non-prescription drugs will be prohibited a year later, on July 1, 2019.
The announcement serves as a final notice on the environmental complaint and puts Canada on a similar timetable to the United States’ plan to remove the tiny pieces of plastic from waterways.
Environment Canada began studying the impacts of plastic microbeads on wildlife and the environment in March 2015. The beads were officially declared toxic in June of this year.
The beads are used as exfoliants and cleansers in toiletries but do not dissolve, eventually finding their way into oceans, lakes, and rivers and into the habitats of a variety of organisms.
In 2014, about 100,000 kilograms of the microbeads were imported to Canada through personal care products. Another 10,000 more kilograms were produced domestically.
The proposed change to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act would ban the producing and manufacturing of microbeads starting at the beginning of 2018, with the sales ban coming six months later.
According to the Canadian Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association, the majority of manufacturers in Canada responsible for the 99 per cent of the total amount of plastic micro-beads used in 2014 have already begun the process to phase-out the use of the beads by the time the ban comes into effect.
U.S. Congress voted to ban microbeads last December. That ban will come into effect on July 1, 2017. Nine U.S. states already have passed laws prohibiting the sale and manufacture of beads in personal care products.
With files from Global News