Cosmetics and personal care products are riddled with microplastics


Personal care and cosmetic products are riddled with plastic ingredients, with nine in 10 popular brands using them, according to research by the Netherlands’ based Plastic Soup Foundation.

The EU is poised to take steps to control the unnecessary use of microplastics but most will be exempt, particularly those used by the cosmetics industry, the organisation says in a new report.

The campaign group looked at the ingredients in 7,704 cosmetic and personal care items from the 10 most popular European brands.

Of them, 87% contained microplastics, defined as ‘all possible synthetic polymers, whether added in solid, liquid, semi-liquid or water-soluble form, as well as nanoplastics and biodegradable plastics’.

The foundation said it approached L’Oreal, Beiersdorf, Procter & Gamble and Unilever to find out about their current and future plastic policies.

‘All four have indicated that they want to do more against plastic pollution, but they focus only on microplastics in solid form. They follow the limited definition of microplastics as proposed by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

The ECHA says every minute, over seven kilos of microplastics from cosmetics and personal care products end up in the European environment, but this would be 25 times higher using the wider Plastic Soup definition, the campaign group said.

We want to urge the cosmetics industry to look beyond the proposed definition by ECHA, to ensure the environmental and human health safety of the products they bring on the market,’ the campaign group said.

‘We want to encourage consumers to demand transparency from brands and accountability for the ingredients these brands put into our personal care and cosmetic products.’

Two weeks ago, researchers at Amsterdam’s VU university reported finding microplastics in human blood for the first time.

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