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The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015: FAQs

Microbeads are tiny plastic beads that are used in rinse-off cosmetics and cosmetic-drug products for the purpose of exfoliating or cleansing any part of the human body.  The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 (MFWA) was enacted on December 18, 2015 and amended the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).  

What does the law do and what drug products are affected?

The Microbead-Free Waters Act will prohibit the manufacture and distribution of nonprescription drugs that are also cosmetics and that contain plastic micrrobeads for the purposes of exfoliating or cleansing any part of the human body.  Common examples of rinse-off nonprescription drugs that are also cosmetics include, but are not limited to, anti-cavity (fluoride) toothpastes, acne scrubs, anti-bacterial soaps, and anti-dandruff shampoos.

When does the law take effect?

There are two different deadlines established by the law. One is for rinse-off cosmetics that are also non-prescription drugs and the other is for all other rinse-off cosmetics described in the law.

For non-prescription drugs that are also rinse-off cosmetics:

  • The deadline is July 1, 2018 to stop manufacturing.
  • The deadline is July 1, 2019 to stop the introduction or delivery for introduction of these products into interstate commerce.

For more information visit Microbead-Free Waters Act