TAIPEI (THE CHINA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Cosmetic products containing microbeads - tiny plastic pellets mostly invisible to the naked eye - will be banned in Taiwan from July next year, the Environmental Protection Administration said.
The ban, which follows similar measures overseas, including in the United States and Britain, will cover products including shampoo, cosmetics, facial scrubs, body wash, soap, deodorant and toothpaste.
Those found to have produced or imported goods containing plastic microbeads will face fines of NT$60,000 to NT$300,000 (S$2,698 to S$13,488); retailers that sell prohibited products will be fined NT$1,200 to NT$6,000.
Scientists have warned for years that microbeads cause severe damage to marine life and environments.
Most such beads - which were originally added for a rougher texture to clean better - are not biodegradable and are ingested by marine animals.
The beads' small size prevents them from being filtered out by consumers or at sewage treatment facilities, and they are ultimately discharged into the environment, where they leach hazardous chemicals.
A study by Plymouth University researchers found that a single wash could release up to 94,500 toxic microbeads.