International Cosmetics & Regulatory Specialists is pleased that there is a new Bill (H.R. 1321, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015) that has a very practical and workable solution to the Microbeads issue. It is encouraging to see legislators working with stakeholders in bringing sanity to an issue that is of intense public scrutiny, while not being an impactful issue in reality. 

Brings Sanity to an Issue under Intense Public Scrutiny

International Cosmetics & Regulatory Specialists is pleased that there is a new Bill (H.R. 1321, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015) that has a very practical and workable solution to the Microbeads issue. It is encouraging to see legislators working with stakeholders in bringing sanity to an issue that is of intense public scrutiny, while not being an impactful issue in reality. 

In our opinion, the environmental impact of the very small amount of microbeads contributed by Personal Care products into the waste stream is not a serious issue, nevertheless it garnered a huge amount of attention, beginning with the article in the L.A. Times in January 2014 (http://www.latimes.com/science/la-me-0126-microbeads-20140126-story.html).  The visibility expanded to the Personal Care industry in Europe, where legislative activity has been minimal. 

Industry wins on a number of fronts:

Federal Pre-emption
This bill establishes federal pre-emption to help relieve the pressure of multiple bills from local jurisdictions (Erie County, NY, etc.). 

Clear, Relevant Definition of a Microbead
Avoids unintentionally including other items by defining:

  • A solid plastic microbead
  • Used to cleanse or exfoliate

Creates an Appropriate Timeline for Implementation and Reformulation

  • Manufacturing deadline of July 1, 2017, shipping deadline of July 1, 2018 for cosmetics
  • Manufacturing deadline of July 1, 2018, shipping deadline of July 1, 2019 for OTC Drugs (i.e. acne products)

Stakeholders Worked Together On The Bill, which takes into account:

  • The time it takes to replace an ingredient and get a new formulation through the supply chain and onto the retailers' shelf.
  • The fact that OTC drugs have more requirements for stability and take longer to reformulate
  • The specificity of the microbead, making the definition specific to what was of concern by the public causing confusion for both consumers and companies.

This bill has passed the House of Representatives, and at this writing, is awaiting an expected signature from President Barack Obama.

For a copy of the bill, click on this link:https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1321/text