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Plastic microbeads ban kicks in

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

Some products containing plastic microbeads have been banned from sale from Thursday 7 June 2018.

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.

Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter, General Manager of  the EPA’s Hazardous Substances Group says once in the sea microbeads 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.

Read the microbead guidance here