Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) microbeads have long been used in personal care products for their exfoliating properties, but overwhelming evidence shows the harmful effects these PP and PE beads have on the environment and marine life. These microbeads, which are the size of a grain of sand, flow right through the sewer system and are too small to be filtered out of most wastewater treatment facilities.
Microbeads are not biodegradable, and once they enter the water, they are impossible to remove. With several US states banning microbeads, global manufacturers are leading the charge to find safe, environmentally-friendly alternatives to PE and PP microbeads.
News Drill Down
- An article from The New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists (NYSCC) references an industrial standard, ASTM D7081 “Standard Specification for Non-floating Biodegradable Plastics in the Marine Environment,” that is being reviewed to harmonize international standards for microbeads.
- The Plastic Soup Foundation’s website, BeatTheMircobead.org, lists several companies that have taken the pledge to stop using microbeads in their products.
- The Huffington Post talks in depth not only about microbead alternatives, but why alternatives like rice, apricot seeds, walnut shells, bamboo, and others are even better than beads.
- Legislators have called on the FDA to study the use of microbeads in toothpaste and take a stance on their use in products in a Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society.
NYSCC: Biodegradable Microbead Alternatives for Cosmetics
Plastic Soup Foundation: Companies that have pledged to stop using microbeads
The Huffington Post: Why Use Microbeads When the Alternatives are Better?
Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society: Legislators Call on FDA to Study use of Plastic Microbeads in Toothpastes
Prospector Knowledge Center: Finding Alternatives to Synthetic Exfoliating Beads
McKinley Resources Incorporated:
Apricot Seed Powder 40/60 (Irradiated) Cosmetic Grade
Corn Meal Irradiated (Cosmetic Grade)
Walnut Shells 40/100 (Irradiated)
Press Release: P.E. (Polyethylene) Bead Replacement Options from McKinley Resources
Lipo Chemicals Company:
Press Release: Desert Whale Jojoba Company Features Natural Alternative to Polyethylene Beads in Cosmetics to Help Reduce Plastic Soup in World’s Oceans
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