Nowadays a lot of ingredients, such as: Polyethylen, Polypropylen, PET, etc. can be found in cosmetics. What lies behind these complex chemical names? What is their use in cosmetics?

Above listed substances can be combined into one big group – microbeads. Today they can be found in shampoo, scrub, shower gel, lipstick and other inventions of the cosmetics industry. Particles of microbeads can scrub the skin, polish teeth and even optically unwrinkled. Some of them are able to regulate product viscosity, create gel and film effect, help to keep a product shelf life.

Particle content in the product can vary from 1 to 90%. Sometimes a product, for example, scrub, contains the same number of particles which is needed for the creation of scrub package.

Such a high content of the small plastic particles creates ecological problems. By now, it is known that microbeads amount 15-31% of the overall pollutants in the ocean. The problem is that microbeads are so small that they can’t be caught by the filtration system. As the result, particles get into water systems increasing the number of ecological problems.

Illinois became the first U.S. state to ban cosmetics containing microplastics. Some leaders in cosmetics manufacturing (Unilever and L’Oréal) claimed about the voluntary removing of microbeads from their product composition.

On December 17, 2014 at the EU Environment Council Belgian, Austrian and Sweden representatives, with the support of Luxemburg, expressed their concern about the microbeads negative impact on the environment and appealed for their removing from the composition of cosmetics and cleansing agents.

In 2014 Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) introduced legislation, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2014, that prohibited the sale or distribution of personal care products that contain synthetic plastic microbeads. The Act was approved in 2015.

According to the Act, the deadline of the termination of the introduction or delivery for introduction of these products into interstate commerce for rinse-off cosmetics is July 1, 2018. Regarding to the rinse-off cosmetics that are also non-prescription drugs the same deadline is for termination of manufacturing the products.

Official FDA information – by link.