With the European Union banning microplastics from cosmetics, paints, detergents, some farm, medical and other products to prevent 500,000 tonnes polluting the seas and rivers. Companies and consumers can now really think about the impact of plastic use and microplastics. Plastic pollution is a global concern and you can find plastic everywhere, even in your own body.

In this blog post we will talk about microplastics in cosmetics. What is the use of microplastics in cosmetics and what impact does it have on the environment and your body?

The effect of microplastics on the environment

Microplastics are tiny particles of plastics which can’t be seen with the naked eye and once microplastics end up in the environment, the impact is irreversible. It is almost impossible to filter the microplastics out and so they end up in our waterways and oceans. Sea animals will eat these and then this is passed along the food chain. Eventually microplastics will reach our plate too. 

Microplastics is everywhere. Your clothes, products, furniture, packaging around your fruit and vegetables and even your cosmetics contain plastic. So it is a good thing the EU finally banned microplastics from cosmetics and other products? Well, according to ECHA’s proposal to the European commission, not all plastics, synthetic polymers, are banned.

plastics in our environment

The loophole of the microplastics ban

Not all synthetic polymers are banned. ECHA only focusses on polymers in a solid form. Anything that is smaller than 0.1 micrometers, water soluble, semi-liquid are not included in the ban. Polymers which claim to be bio-degradable without proof is also not banned.  Instead of encouraging companies to find an alternative for microplastics, companies can continue using microplastics which are not included in the ban. This will lead to greenwashing and damage done, not only to the environment, but as well to consumers health who buy these products. Scientists from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the VUmc have found microplastics in human blood in almost 80% of the test subjects studied.

Microplastics in your skincare products

According to Plastic Soup Foundation, 87% of products from the ten best-selling cosmetics brand contain microplastics. This is a shocking amount. Since microplastics are so small and come in the form of liquid, your skin can absorb it. So why are microplastics added to cosmetics? microplastics act as a cheap filler to bulk out products, create a gloss or have exfoliating properties.

The most used microplastics used in cosmetics are the following:

  • Polyethylene (PE)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)
  • Nylon (PA)
  • Polyurethane.
  • Acrylates copolymer.

Maybe it is time to check our cosmetic items for these hidden microplastics.