In 2016, Health Canada initiated a movement to ban rinse off plastic microbeads found in personal care and cosmetic products. Later that year the federal government listed the tiny plastic beads as a toxic substance under the Environmental Protection Act.

It may have taken a couple of years but Canada’s official ban on beauty and grooming products containing plastic microbeads is finally in effect as of January 1, 2018.

Microbeads have been used in toothpaste, facial scrubs, body lotions and shower gels, among other everyday health and beauty items. The tiny plastic beads are usually too small to be caught by wastewater treatment system filters and end up in lakes, rivers and oceans.

Exceptions to the ban include prescription drugs and select natural health products. However, these two will also be banned later in the year, starting on July 1, 2018.