Dutch State Secretary Wilma Mansveld has called on the House of Representatives to adopt a European-wide ban on microplastics in personal care products to ensure that these particles no longer penetrate into surface water via wastewater. The tiny, plastic non-biodegradable particles are purportedly harmful to the marine environment and one of the pollutants contributing to “the problem of plastic soup in the North Sea.”

“A large proportion of products of this type on the Dutch market are produced by foreign manufacturers,” Mansveld said in a government news release. “This makes a European ban the most effective measure … [Dutch consumers] should know if a tube of toothpaste or a bottle of bath foam contains microplastics. I would also like to offer consumers a sustainable option by asking the cosmetics sector to find alternatives to microplastics. The sector is already heading in the right direction.”

Evidently, a large proportion of Dutch cosmetics companies are re-evaluating the use of microplastics in their products to see if they can be replaced by other materials. “The sector expects that in eighteen months’ time 80% of its members will have replaced microplastics with other materials,” concluded the news release. See Government of the Netherlands News Release, April 16, 2013.