Microbeads can have a significant impact on fish and the marine environment more generally. It is for this reason that the UK, and neighbouring countries are now working with the industry to see their use phased out completely.
The Oslo and Paris Convention for the Protection of the North East Atlantic is an international organisation that identifies threats to the marine environment. The UK and several other European countries are party to this. One of the organisations most important objectives is to reduce marine litter, and in 2014 all members agreed a regional plan to address the problem of microbeads.
The plan includes action on microplastics, and involves co-operating with manufacturers to achieve a voluntary end to their use in cosmetics and personal care products.
Following this agreement the European trade body for the industry- Cosmetics Europe- issued a formal recommendation to its member companies to discontinue the use of microbeads in these products. On this recommendation, many of its member companies had done so already.