Study helps quantify plastic pollution from household cosmetic and cleaning products

Simple, everyday uses of some cosmetics and cleaning products releases huge amounts of plastic micropollution into the environment, potentially at levels harmful to marine life.

 This image captured by an electron microscope shows polyethylene microbeads widely used in shower gel. Photo courtesy Thompson/Bakir/Plymouth University.
Scientists at Plymouth University recently tried to quantify the well-known environmental problem by studying brands of facial scrubs that listed plastics among their ingredients. They used vacuum filtration to sort out the plastic particles and analyzed the debris with electron microscopes, finding that each 150ml of the products could contain between 137,000 and 2.8 million microparticles.
The particles are used as bulking agents and abrasives in hand cleansers, soaps, toothpaste, shaving foam, bubble bath, sunscreen and shampoo. Because of their small size, many won’t be caught by conventional sewage treatment systems, thus ending up in rivers and oceans.
In their findings, published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, the scientists estimated this could result in up to 80 tons of microplastic waste entering the sea every year from use of these cosmetics in the UK alone.

Source: Latest News

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