Toronto, ON – The Government of Canada is to be congratulated for announcing today that it will ban microbeads in consumer products.  However, the federal Chemical Management Plan process that it has selected to carry out this work has serious deficiencies.
The Chemical Management Plan (CMP) has failed Canadians repeatedly when it comes to protecting human health from dangerous ingredients added to the products we use daily. Triclosan was declared toxic under the CMP in 2012, however thousands of products with this toxic chemical are still available for purchase on store shelves. HBCD, a brominated flame retardant, was declared toxic to the environment by Environment Canada in 2011, but it can also still be found in consumer products.
We are concerned that if such delay is repeated for microbeads they will still be in consumer products years from now.  Action is needed now. Every day, thousands of microbeads are polluting rivers and lakes across the country.  In parts of Lake Ontario, scientists have found over a million microbeads per square kilometre of water.
Microbeads are added to products to help exfoliate skin or make them sparkle. These beads are unnecessary and harmful. Once they enter our rivers or lakes, they can be ingested by fish and wildlife. The plastic absorbs dangerous chemicals that are in the environment. If fish eat the plastic, these chemicals can end up in our food chain.
For a ban to be effective, it cannot have loopholes or exemptions. It must ensure that any alternative products used as a substitute for plastic microbeads are environmentally safe. Before being allowed to use alternatives, industry should have to prove that any products designed to end up in Canadian waters can break down quickly to inert or non-toxic, and non-plastic products.   
While the federal government undertakes the CMP review, Environmental Defence encourages the Province of Ontario to forge ahead to ban microbeads from personal care products.
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Jen Mayville, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 228; 905-330-0172 (cell);