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Microplastic In Cosmetics

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  • Microplastic In Cosmetics

Microplastics are forms of plastic particles smaller than 5 millimeters in size. They are usually produced by breaking down plastics used in various industries such as plastic packaging, cleaning products and cosmetics. In cosmetic products, microplastics are used to improve the texture, color and odor properties of the products, or to increase the effectiveness on the skin. However, the environmental impact of microplastics is a serious environmental issue. Microplastics used in cosmetics can disperse through sewage systems into the environment and damage aquatic ecosystems by leaking into the oceans.

Mıcroplastıc In Cosmetıcs

Microplastics pollution because of the cosmetics industry and its impact is an important issue. Demanding more sustainable and environmentally friendly cosmetics and being a more conscious consumer can be effective in reducing the effects of microplastic pollution. In addition, some restrictions on the use of microplastics in cosmetic products are on the agenda of the relevant legal authorities of the European Union.

The most recent draft of the EU-wide Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation on the microplastic restriction was published in September 2022. In this sense, the last updated version is expected to be published in 2023. This regulation will have an extremely important impact on all cosmetic products because it  covers non-biodegradable polymers in any cosmetic product

Sources of Microplastics

Microplastics in almost all ecosystems on Earth are released into the environment as primary or secondary microplastics, regardless of human activity. The terms "primary" and "secondary" refer to the source of microplastics.

Sources of primary microplastics can be divided into several categories. They are some facial cleansers and cosmetics, compressed air abrasives, vectors for pharmaceuticals, and unprocessed plastic manufacturing pellets. Primary microplastics often enter wastewater treatment plants through sewage and then end up in streams. Wastewater treatment plants are not efficient enough to treat microplastics.  

Some cosmetic manufacturers intentionally use primary microplastics as ingredients in their products. Toothpastes, shampoos  and shower gels are some of the intentionally added microplastics cosmetics.

Secondary microplastics have many sources, both in number and type. Therefore, it is first necessary to clarify the source of macroplastics and their respective degradation processes in different environments at first in order to determine the exact source of secondary microplastics in the environment. Secondary microplastics create pollution due to both wastewater treatment plants and direct release to nature. Secondary microplastics result from the breakdown of larger plastics. An example of this is plastic bags that pollute the seas and oceans by turning into microplastics.

What is the Impact of Microplastics on the Environment and Health?

Microplastics are not biodegradable. Thus, primary and secondary microplastics accumulate and become permanent after being released into the environment. Therefore, they are harmful to the environment. As of 2018, microplastics have been found in seafood products in the combination of marine and freshwater ecosystems. It has been detected in the digestive tracts and tissues of crabs and various invertebrate marine animals.

Fish and birds eat microplastics on the water surface, probably because they mistake the plastic parts for food. Ingestion of them can cause aquatic species to consume less nutrients, thus having less energy, and neurological and reproductive toxicity.

A team of scientists has detected microplastics in human blood. It has also been detected in the lung after human blood. However, the human health effects of inhaling it are not completely known yet.

Harms of Microplastics to Human Health

It is not entirely clear whether the microplastics consumed are harmful to human or animal health, and if so, what harms they may cause. But microplastics surround us and it is thought that we can swallow thousands of microplastic particles every day because they are in the air, water, food and all kinds of consumer products.

Some studies in which human cells and tissues are exposed to microplastics also reveal the dangers that microplastics can pose to human health. The results show  the potential of microplastic in human blood for metabolic disturbance, neurotoxicity and carcinogenic effects.

What is the Impact of Microplastics on the Environment?

Plastic waste enters the oceans from rivers, beaches or boats. This plastic pollution affects all kinds of ocean life, from sea turtles to ocean birds. Animals become entangled in nets or bottles, choking on plastic debris, filling their stomachs with plastic they mistake food for. As these animals die, the ecosystems in which they play an important role begin to lose with them.

Microplastic Analysis in Cosmetic Products

Combinations of physical (for example: microscopy) and chemical (for example: spectroscopy) analyzes are widely used in microplastic analysis today. However, new methods are being studied to reduce identification time and effort and to detect submicron plastics in environmental samples.

Saniter provides microplastic analysis services, with its trained and expert staff and advanced technological equipment, among the numerous test, measurement, analysis and evaluation studies it provides for businesses in various sectors.

Microplastic Free Analysis in Cosmetic Products

Microplastics are widely used in cosmetic products as well as in many areas. Microplastics are used in facial peels and other cosmetics and personal care products.

The microplastic free Analysis in cosmetic products is an analysis that should be done by manufacturers claiming that their products do not contain microplastics. Microplastic-free analysis in cosmetic products starts with physically marking microplastics under the microscope. The marked microplastics are then subjected to chemical treatment to get a plastic film layer. After the film layers are formed, the types of microplastics in the product are identified and reported. As a result of this analysis, cosmetic products containing microplastics cannot use the microplastic-free label on their packages. This claim has not been scientifically proven.

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