Plastic Microbeads Banned—Next Step: Safer Ingredients

A few weeks ago, Congress took an important step toward cleaning up the personal care industry: It banned plastic microbeads from products such as exfoliators, toothpaste, and body wash. We took a moment to celebrate this victory, and you should too! It’s a clear sign of Washington, D.C.’s appetite for change in the outdated beauty industry.

For a little context, in the last five years, many companies started using plastic microbeads throughout the personal care industry. Despite their popularity, there are two major problems with plastic microbeads, which is part of the reason we have never used them. First, they cause massive amounts of plastic pollution in our lakes, rivers, and oceans. Second, there are legitimate public health risks: Plastic pieces get lodged between people’s teeth and often contain harmful chemical additives.

Now, what does this mean for our outdated cosmetic safety law? The recent plastic microbead ban was a small update to the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. In fact, a handful of small updates have happened over the years, but there still has been no major effort to reform the $200 billion personal care and cosmetic industry.

That’s exactly what we’re asking for at Beautycounter, and it’s what our movement for better beauty is all about. It’s about fixing the big problem. We will celebrate small victories along the way, but we won’t stop until we have a federal program that ensures the ingredients used in our personal care and cosmetic products are safer before they come to market.

These two facts still hold true: The last time Congress passed a major federal law regulating the safety of cosmetic ingredients was in 1938. And it’s still perfectly legal for companies to use ingredients linked to harm in the products we use every single day.

We are confident that the momentum generated from the plastic microbead ban will help make the Personal Care Products Safety Act a priority for Congress in 2016. Lend your voice to this important conversation, and you can email Congress to ask your representatives to make safer beauty a priority.