Cosmetic manufacturers: Stop contributing to marine plastic pollution with your exfoliating scrubs
The majority of cosmetic industry (*) use in their exfoliating products tiny spherical particles of POLYETHYLENE (the most common type of plastic) as abrasive ingredient. There have been peer-reviewed scientific studies (1) demonstrating that these microparticles (up to 1 mm) are not effectively retained in the waste water treatment plants and end up in rivers and ultimately in the oceans. Plastic is virtually non-degradable in the oceans, due to sea's low temperature and light and is therefore a very pervasive and persistent pollutant. Most of us are aware of the impacts plastic can have in turtles and sea-birds but what is not so widespread is the fact that plastic just fragments into tiny bits ("microplastics") and in some parts of the world can be a few times more abundant than plankton. An emerging recognition is that the microplastics may be entering the food-chain (small crustaceans, shellfish, fish and... consequently humans!) (2, 3) due to its size and abundance, as particle feeders do not distinguish them. Microspheres of plastic represent therefore a direct input and contributor to the oceanic "plastic soup". This is truly unnecessary, as there are alternatives to the use of this compound (e.g. sugar, clay, etc) that though may not be as cheap (and may affect the plastic's industry) are undoubtedly less risky to natural ecosystems and our own health. (*) Brands identified & verified so far: G.M. Collin, Thal'ion, Ducray, Neutrogena, Clerasil, Nivea, Vichy, Kruidvat, Avène, Clarins, Lancôme, ROC, Biogénie, Sisley Paris, Lierac, Guinot, Swisscare, Bella Jovani, Cool Colours Cosmetics, Lise Watier, Dermalogica, L'Oreal, Clinique, Olay… (1) Fendall LS, Sewell MA (2009) "Contributing to marine pollution by washing your face: microplastics in facial cleansers." Marine Pollution Bulletin. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.04.025 (2) Davison P, Asch RG (2011) “Plastic ingestion by mesopelagic fishes in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre”. Mar Ecol Prog Ser, 432. http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v432/p173-180/ (3) Murray f., Cowie P. (2011) “Plastic Contamination in the decapod crustacean Nephrops norvegicus”. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 62. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X11001755
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