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The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) has released their proposed restriction for intentionally added microplastics to consumer or professional use products of any kind.

The scope of the restriction proposal is specific for microplastics used as substances and in mixtures with a concentration equal to or greater than 0.01% (w/w).

Microplastics are polymers (as defined according to article 3.5 of EC Regulation 19072006) consisting of particles where ≥1 % of particles have all dimensions 1nm ≤ x ≤ 5mm, or (ii), for fibres, a length of 3nm ≤ x ≤ 15mm and length to diameter ratio of >3.

The restriction will introduce transitional periods for different uses to allow the interested parties time to adapt. In addition to the restriction, there will also labeling and reporting obligations to minimize releases to the environment and to improve the quality of information available to assess the potential for risks in the future.

Hazards of microplastics are related to the fact that they are small (typically microscopic) making them readily available for ingestion and potentially liable to transfer within food chains. So, increasing use of plastics means and increasing concentrations in the environment where they are almost impossible to remove once dispersed causing also human health effects.

These substances are used in various fields, for example in cosmetic products, to give an exfoliating action, as additives in paints to give resistance to abrasion, printer inks or 3D printers, etc.

Interested parties are invited to provide data that will be taken into consideration for the socio-economic assessment and the restriction could come into effect in mid-2021.

Source URL: Information session: public consultation on microplastics restriction