What Manufacturers Need to Know About the Proposed
This guide covers the effect microplastics have on the environment, the history of legislation in regards to microplastics in the cosmetic and personal care industries’, the proposed ban on glitter, and safe, biodegradable alternatives.
Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic, less than 5 millimeters across, that can cause big problems if they enter waterways. Microplastics can be categorized as primary or secondary microplastics. Primary microplastics are the particles that were designed to be tiny for some particular purpose, such as cosmetic or industrial use. Secondary microplastics are the particles resulting from the breakdown of larger plastics like plastic bags and bottles. Microplastics can have a variety of shapes, including beads, fibers, glitters, or fragments.
Microplastic pollution is becoming pervasive throughout our oceans. Marine life often mistakes these particles for food, since they absorb the scent of algae. Microplastics can also enter through an animal’s gills during respiration.
Some marine animals are able to excrete plastics easily, but many others do so with difficult or not at all, allowing microplastics to accumulate in their bodies over time.
Not only does ingestion of microplastics increase the risks of suffocation and starvation in the most susceptible marine life, but the toxic effects of certain plastics or hormone regulation can interfere with such vital functions as metabolism, growth, development
Moreover, research has shown that microplastics collect organic pollutants such as PCBs and DDT, on their surface. These factors, combined with the longevity of plastics in marine environments, poses a serious threat to not only the health of our oceans but the 2.5 billion people who regularly consume seafood.