UK follows US in banning damaging 'microbeads' from cosmetics, shower gels

By On January 11, 2018

UK follows US in banning damaging 'microbeads' from cosmetics, shower gels

U.K. follows U.S. in banning damaging 'microbeads' from cosmetics, shower gelsCLOSE

These microbeads are reportedly a danger to the environment and human health. Video provided by Newsy

LONDON â€" A ban on environmentally damaging microbeads found in toothpastes, face scrubs and shower gels came into effect Tuesday in the United Kingdom.

The moves prevents manufacturers of cosmetics and personal-care items from adding the small pieces of plastic to their products. They often end up in the ocean after being washed down the drain, damaging marine plant and animal life.

Former President Barack Obama signed a U.S. ban on microbeads into law in late 2015.

Microbeads are also a potential hazard to human health: Scientists believe so me fish in lakes may soak up the toxins they release, which can then be passed back to people who consume the fish. These toxins can disrupt hormone levels and cause cancer.

"The world's seas and oceans are some of our most valuable natural assets and I am determined we act now to tackle the plastic that devastates our precious marine life," the U.K.'s Environment Minister Therese Coffey said in a statement.

"Microbeads are entirely unnecessary when there are so many natural alternatives available, and I am delighted that from today cosmetics manufacturers will no longer be able to add this harmful plastic to their rinse-off products," she added.

More: 'Beautiful' and 'horrible': Microplastics are polluting Lake Winnebago's fish

Microbeads an irritation in N.Y., Jersey waters

Last week, British parliamentarians called on the government to introduce a special tax â€" the so-called l atte levy â€" on disposable coffee cups. Britons throw away about 2.5 billion of them each year, according to a study by Cardiff University.

And two years ago, Britain introduced a law requiring all large stores to charge 5 pence, about 7 U.S. cents, for all single-use plastic bags.

The United Nations has called for specific international goals to reduce plastic waste in oceans. It has faced opposition from the U.S. and China.

Plastics clog landfills worldwide Fullscreen


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Humans have produced 18.2 trillion pounds of plastics since large-scale production began in the early 1950s, and nearly 80% now resides in landfills like the one seen here, or the natural environment, according to a study published July 19, 2017. Plastic bags sits in a Manhattan trash can on May 05, 2016 in New York City. Fullscreen A tractor drives through a giant pile of plastic bottles at the San Francisco Recycling Center April 22, 2008, in San Francisco, Calif. Fullscreen Recycling is sorted at the Sims Municipal Recycling Facility, an 11-acre recycling center on the Brooklyn waterfront on April 22, 2015, in New York. Fullscreen An engineered landfill. Fullscreen Plastic bottles and general rubbish washed up by the sea litter the beaches in Prestwick, Scotland, on March 22, 2005. Fullscreen Plastic bottles, balls and floating rubbish pollutes Manchester Ship Canal at Salford Quays on July 27, 2010 in Salford, England. Fullscreen Recycl ed plastic bottles are seen at the San Francisco Recycling Center on March 2, 2005 in San Francisco, Calif. Fullscreen Cows stand on May 30, 2015 in Agadez, Niger, near plastic bags littering the ground. Fullscreen People collect plastic bottles on October 16, 2014, at a garbage dump in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Fullscreen A plastic bag sits in a Manhattan street on May 05, 2016, in New York City. FullscreenReplay
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