Almost nine in 10 products from major cosmetics brands contain microplastics, according to a new report.
The report, Plastic – The Hidden Beauty Ingredient, from environmental campaigners Plastic Soup Foundation, found 87% of products from the 10 best-selling cosmetics brands contained plastic.
It reflects an article published in My Green Pod Magazine (Feb 2019) that describes the use of synthetic polymers as a common ‘microplastics dodge’ in the cosmetics industry.
You can find out more about how it’s happening here.
Understanding synthetic polymers
The first of its kind, the study looked at over 7,000 products from household names including L’Oréal Paris, Garnier, Nivea, Gillette, Oral-B and Head & Shoulders.
As a result of the findings, campaigners and scientists are now calling for all synthetic polymers to be examined for their potential harm before they are allowed in products on the European market.
They warned not enough is known about the biodegradability and toxicity of synthetic polymers for both the environment and people to allow them unregulated access.
‘No one should underestimate our exposure to microplastics. If you carefully read the labels, polyethylene, nylon, polypropylene and many other pollutants come in very high percentages in cosmetics.
‘The effects of microplastic pollution are very serious, and we share the preoccupation that without containing this phenomenon the effects would harm the planet and its inhabitants.’
PIERNICOLA PEDICINI MEP
Group of the Greens/European Alliance
Every minute it is estimated over seven kilos of microplastics deriving from personal care products will end up in the environment across Europe.
Unveiling the research as the EU prepares to introduce new restrictions on the addition of microplastics to products such as cosmetics, detergents and pesticides, Plastic Soup Foundation warned the legislation might not go far enough.
‘We want to encourage the European Commission and the EU member states to take the opportunity of the upcoming EU legislation to put an end to all deliberately added microplastics in cosmetics once and for all.’
Plastic Soup Foundation campaigner for Beat the Microbead
The legislation is expected to be debated in June with a view to it being adopted by the end of 2022. However, it might be based on the European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) definition of microplastics, which excludes the majority of synthetic polymers.
If this is the case, the legislation would apply to less than 4% of the microplastics used in cosmetics, they said.
ECHA’s definition will see plastic particles smaller than 0.1 micrometre excluded from the law, as well as omitting all water-soluble, semi-solid, liquid and ‘biodegradable’ polymers.