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EPA: Plastic microbeads ban kicks in on 7 June

The Environmental Protection Authority will be responsible for new rules to protect people and New Zealand’s environment from plastic microbeads.

Some products containing plastic microbeads will be banned from sale from Thursday 7 June 2018, says Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter General Manager of the EPA’s Hazardous Substances Group.

“The microbeads are found in some common household products like face and body scrubs or exfoliators, ‘wash-off’ products like glitter bubble bath, heavy-duty hand soaps and in some toothpastes.

“Plastic microbeads are not biodegradable, and at less than five millimetres in size, many end their life in the sea when they are washed down drains,” says Fiona.

“Once in the sea they can absorb and leach toxins over time, and can potentially harm New Zealand’s marine life. Once eaten by marine life, they can potentially become a part of the human food chain.

“Under the new rules many, but not all, products containing microbeads are banned. We have some guidance for the public, manufacturers and interested parties on our website, which we encourage everyone to read,” says Fiona.

“This will help people understand what to do if they own or manufacture products that contain plastic microbeads which are covered by the ban.”

Read our guidance here.


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