June 16th, 2017 - 3:45pm
OTTAWA – Brian Masse MP (Windsor West) declared victory today on the Government of Canada changing the regulations to prohibit the manufacture of microbeads in Canadian consumer products effective January 1, 2018. On July 1, 2018, the sale of these microbeads is banned. The exception is for natural health products and non-prescription medicines wherein the effective date of prohibition for manufacture is July 1, 2018 and the sale prohibition on these same products begins July 1, 2019.
“Yesterday the Government of Canada took the final step in adopting our NDP motion on microbeads from 24 March 2015. Together with then Environment Critic, Megan Leslie, we held a NDP Opposition Day on my motion to have microbeads in personal care products added to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA, 1999).”
Working with the companies that manufacture these personal care products, and environmentalists, Masse called to have microbeads added to Canada’s List of Toxic Substances which would allow for the government to establish these regulations and ban the tiny plastic particles from these products.
“I am pleased to see that the work I have done, in conjunction with the manufacturers and environmentalists, has finally come to fruition. Microbeads are filling our lakes, streams and oceans and pose a threat to the environment, ecosystems and likely to human health,” stated Masse. “Everyone agrees that microbeads need to be removed from our personal care products and it is finally going to be done in Canada.”
Alarmingly high concentrations of microplastics (plastics less than 5 mm in diameter) have been found in Michigan’s Great Lakes. A 2012 study by the 5 Gyres Institute found an average of 43,000 particles/km2 in 21 samples from Lakes Huron, Erie, and Superior. Moreover, Lake Erie had the highest recorded concentration of microplastics of any body of water in the world, with one site measuring 466,000 particles/km2. This is especially striking considering that most pollutants are found in higher concentration in oceans, not in freshwater lakes like Lake Erie.
Microbeads are so small that fish confuse them with food, and as a result, they die from starvation. They are so small that they cannot be filtered by municipal water treatment plants resulting in the high concentrations that researchers are finding in our waters.
The March 24, 2015, Opposition Day Motion put forth by Great Lakes Critic Brian Masse and introduced by Environment Critic Megan Leslie reads: That, in the opinion of the House, microbeads in consumer products entering the environment could have serious harmful effects, and therefore the government should take immediate measures to add microbeads to the list of toxic substances managed by the government under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.