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Taiwan to ban personal care items with plastic microbeads from July

2018/06/19 20:37:28

CNA file photo

Taipei, June 19 (CNA) The production and import of personal care products containing plastic microbeads will be banned nationwide effective July 1, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said Tuesday.

The ban, which follows similar measures carried out in a number of countries, including the United States and France, will be imposed on six major products, including shampoo, shower gel, soap, facial cleanser, scrubbing cream and toothpaste, according to the environmental administration.

The new initiative is intended to enhance environmental protection, and retailers caught violating the rule will be subject to fines of NT$1,200-NT$6,000 (US$198.34), with all products containing microbeads confiscated.

Microbeads are widely regarded by researchers as a major water pollutant, able to pass unfiltered through sewage treatment plants and make their way into rivers and canals to cause plastic particle pollution.

They cause damage to marine life and the environment because microbeads are mostly non-biodegradable and can be ingested by fish and other forms of marine life.

According to the EPA, from January to April environmental bureaus in cities and counties across Taiwan inspected 654 products from 257 firms.

Microbeads are mostly made of polyethylene (PE) but can be made of other petrochemical plastics including polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). The EPA called on consumers to contribute to environmental protection by checking the contents of personal care products before making a purchase.

(By Wu Hsin-yun and Ko Lin)
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