Microplastics

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 29th December 2017.

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Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Labour/Co-operative, Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending the microbeads ban to include sunscreen and deodorants.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Microbeads used in rinse-off products end up in the marine environment and damage marine life. The microbead ban will therefore cover the manufacture and sale of all rinse-off personal care products containing microbeads. While some countries have opted to ban only those plastic particles added for exfoliating and cleansing purposes, our objective is to minimise marine microplastic pollution, and therefore our ban covers all microplastic particles in rinse-off personal care products. It is one of the toughest bans in the world.

We are aware that microplastics enter the marine environment from other sources, so we have engaged the Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee (HSAC) to review evidence on microplastics in other products, and their chances of reaching our seas and causing harm to marine life. The microbead consultation also asked for evidence on other sources of marine plastic pollution. We will use these responses and evidence from HSAC to develop future UK action to protect the marine environment.

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