As of Jan. 1, 2018, Health Canada has banned the manufacture and import of products that contain plastic microbeads - small spherical additives less than 5 mm in size that are found in several bath and body products.
Toothpastes, facial scrubs, body lotions and shower gels are among the products affected by the ban. Exceptions for microbead inclusion in various natural health products and over-the-counter drugs were made; however, they will eventually be banned later this year, beginning on July 1.
The move the ban microbeads resulted from concerns of their environmental impact. As they are made from plastic, they are usually too small to be filtered by wastewater treatment systems. They ultimately end up in lake, river and ocean ecosystems, where they serve as a harmful substance to several marine organisms.
Currently, microbeads are listed as a toxic substance under the Environmental Protection Act. For more on this ban, please read the product safety section on the Government of Canada website.