California Legislation – Microplastics

In February 2022, California Assemblymember Bill Quirk introduced Assembly Bill (A.B.) 2787 “Microplastics in Products.” It was amended in May 2022 to clarify that it DOES cover both rinse-off and leave-on cosmetic products. As currently written, it will prohibit the sale or commercial distribution of cosmetics or other products in California if they contain intentionally added microplastics at 0.01% or more by weight.

This bill expands the earlier ban on Microbeads (CA Microbeads Nuisance Prevention Law). The content was suggested by the CA Ocean Protection Council, which was mandated to create a Statewide Microplastics Strategy for California. The strategy was released in February 2022; Recommendation 2A.1.5 proposed these statutory changes.1California Ocean Protection Council. Statewide Microplastics Strategy February 2022.  The proposed California bill is more restrictive than the current federal ban on plastic microbeads in cosmetics.

Intentionally added microplastic is defined as “a microplastic that a manufacturer has intentionally added to a product and that has a functional, technical, or decorative effect in the product.

Microplastic is defined as “a material consisting of solid polymer-containing particles, to which chemical additives or other substances may have been added, and 1 percent weight by weight (w/w) or more of the particles are … five millimeters (mm) or less in all dimensions.

Most glitter used in cosmetic products would meet this definition of a microplastic.

Biodegradable and water-soluble materials are not excluded.2PackagingLaw.com. California Bill Would Ban Intentionally Added Microplastic in Certain Products. March 30, 2022.

The deadlines for implementation are:

  • January 1, 2027: Rinse-off cosmetic products not already covered by the Microbead prohibition. THIS WOULD INCLUDE PET-BASED GLITTER IN SOAP OR BATH BOMBS.
  • January 1, 2028: Detergents
  • January 1, 2028: Waxes and polishes
  • January 1, 2029: Leave-on cosmetic products

What you need to do

At this point, there is no need to take action.

However, if (or more likely, when) the bill passes, it will affect all products made, sold, or commercially distributed in California. In that case, you will need to to reformulate any soap, bath bombs, or other rinse-off products containing plastic-based glitter by January 2027.

Hopefully by that time there will be some good alternatives to plastic-based glitter on the market!

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1 California Ocean Protection Council. Statewide Microplastics Strategy February 2022.
2 PackagingLaw.com. California Bill Would Ban Intentionally Added Microplastic in Certain Products. March 30, 2022.


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