According to a new report, microplastic particles have been found in nine out of 10 cosmetic products from major brands.
The ingredients of more than 7,000 products from brands such as Garnier, Gillette, Nivea, L’Oréal Paris, Oral-B and Head & Shoulders were analyzed – with only 13% free of microplastics.
The findings come from the Plastic Soup Foundation (PSF), a nonprofit group that campaigns against plastic pollution.
While lipsticks, shampoos, sunscreens, moisturizers and deodorants all contain plastic, the PSF is calling for stricter regulations on the use of synthetic polymers.
But the definition of microplastics is a controversial topic, which makes the issue difficult to regulate.
Ideally, there would be stricter checks on products for microplastics, before they hit store shelves ready for purchase, campaigners say.
In Europe, it is estimated that around 3,800 tonnes of microplastics are released each year through the use of typical cosmetic products, according to the European Chemicals Agency.
But the environmental impact of microplastics remains uncertain, despite the fact that they are found everywhere, from arctic snow to the depths of the sea.
In fact, a new study from the University of Hull has located microplastics in the deepest sections of human lungs, with the worrying implication being that plastic particles are either not filtered out or remain trapped.
In 2018, plastic microbeads were banned in rinse-off cosmetics and personal care products, but PSF says the products still contain other types of plastic.
Currently, there is a proposal to ban “intentionally added microplastics”, but PSF says that if certain ingredients – like liquid polymers and water-soluble plastics – are not included in the definition of “microplastics”, the producers will be allowed to continue using them. .
The foundation encourages consumers to ask their favorite brands to support a total ban on microplastic ingredients used in personal care products and cosmetics, through their petition.
A Nivea spokesperson said: “We have ambitious sustainability goals and are committed to ensuring that our products have the least possible impact on the environment. Since the end of 2021, all Nivea products are completely free of solid microplastics.
They add: “The public debate around the subject of microplastics is very controversial and extremely complex, because there is no internationally binding definition of the term “microplastics”. At Nivea, we understand that microplastics are solid, water-insoluble plastic particles five millimeters or smaller and non-biodegradable. In doing so, we rely on the supported definition of UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme, thus adhering to widely shared scientific advice.
Proctor & Gamble, owner of Head & Shoulders, Gillette and Oral-B, said The temperature that the ingredients identified by PSF in its products were not classified as microplastics in the regulations because they were liquid.
You can access PSF’s full #DareToCare report here.
The Independent has contacted Garnier, Gillette, L’Oreal Paris, Oral-B and Head & Shoulders for comment.