Beauty Store Business magazine - January, 2020

Plastic Microbeads Legislation Update From the Professional Beauty Association

Plastic Microbeads Legislation Update From the Professional Beauty Association

Beauty Store Business attended the Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors' 2014 Cosmetic/Technical Regulatory Forum March 6 at the Le Meridien Delfina in Santa Monica, California. One of the many topics discussed there was pending state legislation across the United States banning the use of plastic microbeads in beauty products.

After the event, we asked Myra Y. Irizarry Reddy, director of government affairs at the Professional Beauty Association—who also attended the ICMAD forum—for an update.

"Legislation banning the use of plastic microbeads in products such as facial and body scrubs, cleaning products and toothpastes have been introduced in Michigan, New York, Illinois and California," Irizarry Reddy told BSB. "Also, a study of plastic microbeads has been suggested in the state of Minnesota."

Here is Irizarry Reddy's analysis as of March 10:

The Michigan legislation—introduced in 2013—is supported by findings from the 5 Gyres, a nonprofit organization dedicated to researching the issue of plastics in the world’s oceans. The group's research found small plastic microbead particles in Lake Michigan. These plastic microbeads are too small to be captured through the waste water-treatment process.

If passed, Michigan House Bill 4994 introduced by Democrat State Representative Terry Brown would prohibit a manufacturer of a personal-care product from intentionally adding plastic particles to a personal-care product for abrasive, polishing or other purposes beginning Jan. 1, 2015. The bill would prohibit a person from selling, offering for sale or distributing a personal-care product to which plastic particles have been intentionally added for abrasive, polishing or other purposes beginning Jan. 1, 2016. HB 4994 would establish a $1,000 fine for a violation.

The legislation defines for the purpose of prohibited products a "personal-care product" as an article intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled or sprayed on, introduced into or otherwise applied to the human body or any part thereof for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness or altering the appearance.

New York's Assembly bill is similar to Michigan's legislation. If passed, New York Assembly Bill 8652 introduced by Democrat Assemblymember Michelle Schimel would prohibit the sale of personal-care products or cosmetics containing microbeads.

If passed, Illinois House Bill 3166 introduced by Democrat State Representative Kelly Cassidy would prohibit the production, manufacture, sale or offer for sale of any personal cosmetic product that contains intentionally added plastic. HB 3166 establishes a business offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,500 for each day.

If passed, California Assembly Bill 1699 sponsored by Democrat Assemblymember Richard Bloom would prohibit the sale or promotional offer of any cleaning products or personal-care products containing microplastic after Jan. 1, 2016.

Cleaning products and personal-care products are defined as mixtures and solutions used for bathing and cleaning, including, but not limited to, hand and body soap, exfoliates, shampoos, toothpastes and scrubs. The legislation also establishes a civil penalty of not more than $2,500 per day for a violation of this ban.

"The Professional Beauty Association applauds companies such as Unilever, The Body Shop, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble that have already agreed to phase out the use of plastic microbeads," added Irizarry Reddy. "We support the environmentally-conscious decision manufacturers have made to utilize existing natural-alternative exfoliant ingredients, such as nutshells, oatmeal, acai seeds, sugar, rice and ground apricot kernels."

In all, state legislatures have introduced more than 180 bills related to the professional-beauty industry so far this year, according to Irizarry Reddy. The issue areas of the legislation range from licensing regulations, state boards and continuing education to so-called "chemicals of concern" in personal-care products.

For more information such as the status of legislation, contact the PBA. Or if you're a PBA member, you can view all state legislation that Irizarry Reddy's government-affairs team is monitoring via PBA's legislative tracking page at

[Image courtesy of the Professional Beauty Association]