VICTORY: Government Supports Masse's Plan to Ban Microbeads

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                               
July 31, 2015
 
VICTORY: GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS MASSE’S PLAN TO
BAN MICROBEADS FROM PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS
Windsor, ONToday Official Opposition Critic for the Great Lakes, Brian Masse M.P., declared a victory for Canadians with news that the Harper Government is finally going to respect the will of Parliament and implement the measures passed unanimously in the NDP motion debated March 24, 2015, to ban microbeads from all personal care products. 
Working with the companies that manufacture these personal care products and environmentalists over the past year, Masse called to have microbeads added to Canada’s List of Toxic Substances which would allow for the government to establish regulations and ban these 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.  Our motion passed this past spring with government support yet they did not add microbeads to the list. These 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. According to the 5 Gyres Institute these microplastics can be made up of substances such as Polyethylene, Polypropylene, Polyethylene Terephthalate, Polymethyl methacrylate, or Nylon. 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.
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For more information please contact: Brian Masse 519-255-1631 or brian.masse@parl.gc.ca