Review of Microplastics in Cosmetics : Scientific background on a potential source of plastic particulate marine litter to support decision-making

(…) The subject of microplastics in cosmetics has drawn world-wide attention due to the increasing concern about marine litter and the microplastic fraction of the litter that is entering food chains and causing adverse effects. These products are one of many sources being scrutinized by the international community of concerned citizens, policy makers, scientists and companies which recognize and take producer responsibility in this area. While packaging and other macro-sized plastic objects have the potential to be recycled, plastic cosmetic ingredients are impossible to recycle because the products are discharged into wastewater at end-of-life. Considering the vast size of the global cosmetic and personal care product market and the vast volumes of wastewater we humans annually produce, if we load these products with plastic particulates, we are creating an automatic source of microplastic environmental pollution. This source, as well as other sources from other sectors are being addressed through various governance activities.

H.A. Leslie, PhD, Cop. Institute for Environmental Studies, 07/2014

The report

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