Skip to main content
  • News Story

Portugal’s Ban on Plastic Microbeads

A Decree-Law in Portugal has passed that prohibits the distribution, consumption or use of some microbead containing products by July 1, 2022.

Person washing their face over a sink

September 1, 2021

by Raissa Havens, regulatory specialist, UL’s Supply Chain team 

The United Kingdom, China, New Zealand, Canada and France are some of the countries around the world that have been announcing bans on the use of microbeads, essentially in rinse-off cosmetics. At the end of last year, Argentina was the first country in South America to implement the ban as well - now it is Portugal’s turn. 

On July 30, 2021, Decree-Law 69/2021 was published on the Official Gazette prohibiting the distribution, consumption or use of certain cosmetic and detergent products in the Portuguese market. This regulation applies to products that contain intentionally added plastic microbeads in a concentration equal to or greater than 0.01% by weight. 

The Decree-Law defines plastic microbeads as solid polymers with dimensions equal to or less than 5 millimeters , to which additives or other substances may have been added, exempting only natural polymers that have not been chemically modified, used as an abrasive, namely to exfoliate, polish or clean.

Under European Union law, the terms cosmetics and detergents include any personal care product and cleaning product. However, those terms were used in this Decree-Law for uniformity reasons.

The enforcement authority of this law is the Economic and Food Safety Authority (ASAE) and Tax and Customs Authority (AT).

This regulation does not apply to:

  • Biodegradable polymers
  • Polymers with solubility above 2 grams/liter
  • Products that have been placed on the market before the entry into force of this decree-law

Under Article 5, violations of this Decree-Law will be considered as serious and will be sanctioned according to the provisions of Decree-Law 9/2021.

Companies will have until July 1, 2022, to comply with the requirements of this Decree-Law, which is when it enters into force.

Recommended action items

If you manufacture, distribute or sell cosmetics and detergents covered by the definitions described above, verify the chemical composition of your products to ensure they are compliant with the Decree-Law.


Decree-Law 69/2021 of July 30

Regulatory Roundup Newsletter

Never miss an update

UL, the global safety science leader, can keep you updated on the latest events with a variety of materials, ranging from the latest regulatory news, webinars, white papers, events, industry insights and more. 

Subscribe to our monthly Regulatory Roundup Newsletter and stay up to date on current and upcoming regulations and all the latest chemical industry news. 

Subscribe now

Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Authoring and Labeling Services

Create, maintain and distribute comprehensive SDSs and labels to meet your increasingly complex global compliance requirements.

Learn more

Chemical Regulatory Compliance

Manage your chemical compliance needs with the help of global regulatory expertise and leading resources.

Learn more

Chemical Compliance Training

UL provides a series of chemical regulatory training programs designed to help understand the diverse set of requirements and how to confront them.

Learn more

Get connected with our sales team

Thanks for your interest in our products and services. Let's collect some information so we can connect you with the right person.

Please wait…