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Microbeads report reveals loopholes in pledges by biggest firms

July 20, 2016

Microbeads report reveals loopholes in pledges by biggest firms

Damian Carrington
Wednesday 20 July 2016 12.25 BST

Loopholes in the voluntary pledges by the biggest personal care companies to phase out polluting microbeads have been revealed in a report from Greenpeace, which says a legal ban is needed.

Tiny plastic beads are widely used in toiletries and cosmetics but thousands of tonnes wash into the sea every year, where they harm wildlife and can ultimately be eaten by people, with unknown effects on health. A petition signed by more than 300,000 people asking for a UK ban was delivered to the prime minister in June A US law banning microbeads was passed at the end of 2015.

The Greenpeace report surveyed the world’s top 30 personal care companies and found that even those ranked highest came up short of the standard they deemed acceptable.

One of the leaders, Colgate-Palmolive, said it stopped using of plastic microbeads at the end of 2014, but Greenpeace said the pledge only applied to products used for “exfoliating and cleansing”. Microbeads can be used in moisturisers, makeup, lip balms, shaving foams and other products.

One of the lowest-ranked companies was Estée Lauder, which says it “is currently in the process of removing exfoliating plastic beads in the small number of our products that contain them”. Greenpeace said the company’s commitment is too narrow, applying only to microbeads used for exfoliating, and does not set a deadline.

Read more at The Guardian.

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