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USA Bans Microbeads from Cosmetic Products

January 7, 2016 by David Lennarz

On December 28, 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015.  Introduced in March 2015, the act amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prohibit the manufacture and distribution of rinse-off cosmetics (including toothpastes) that contain plastic microbeads.  The ban takes effect on:

  • July 1, 2017 for manufacturing.
  • July 1, 2018 for distributing.
  • July 1, 2018 for manufacturing a rinse-off cosmetic that is also a nonprescription drug.
  • July 1, 2019 for distributing a rinse-off cosmetic that is also a nonprescription drug.

The act defines a plastic microbead as “any solid plastic particle that is less than five millimeters in size and is intended to be used to exfoliate or cleanse the human body or any part thereof.”

Why Ban Microbeads?

Microbeads are a source of microplastic pollution, an increasing threat in US waterways.  Microbeads used in rinse-off cosmetics are rinsed down the drain and enter waterways.  The American Chemical Society conservatively estimates that 8 trillion microbeads (enough to cover over 300 tennis courts) are emitted into aquatic habitats in the United States each day.  Plastic does not dissolve, so the beads continuously build up in the water.  Microbeads can pose a threat to marine life, as the tiny beads can be mistaken for food.

Cosmetics distributed in the United States are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Registrar Corp stays up-to-date with U.S. FDA cosmetic regulations and can help manufacturers ensure compliance.  Our Cosmetic Label & Ingredient Review service can help determine the FDA regulations that apply to your specific product.

For questions or assistance with U.S. FDA cosmetic regulations, call +1-757-224-0177 or chat with a Regulatory Specialist 24-hours a day at

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Registrar Corp assists businesses with U.S. FDA compliance. Certificates of Registration issued by Registrar Corp provide confirmation to industry that you are fulfilling U.S. FDA registration requirements. U.S. FDA does not issue or recognize Certificates of Registration. Registrar Corp is not affiliated with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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