The proposed ban on microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics should be extended to microplastics in makeup, according to environmental groups.
The issue arose after a survey found polyethylene (which is used to make microbeads), PTFE, nylon 6, nylon 12 and polymethyl methacrylate, listed among the ingredients in make-up products such as eyeshadows, lipsticks and mascaras. The ingredients are commonly used to add bulk and texture or act as a binding agent.
Dilyana Mihaylova, spokesman for campaign group Fauna & Flora International, said: “Limiting the scope of a ban to rinseoff cosmetics and personal care products will not effectively protect our seas from other products that contain microplastics and are often washed down the drain.”
However, others in the industry believe the materials are totally different from microbeads and should be allowed in products. The Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association, which speaks for manufacturers, said: “Leave-on cosmetic products do not contain solid plastic microbeads. They may use polymers to ensure easy spreading.”
Meanwhile, a number of Professional Beauty readers argued that any microplastics should be viewed as the same as microbeads and included in a ban. “I say yes to a complete ban; humans harm so much wildlife and environment all in the name of beauty and this must be stopped,” said Kelly Conway, a nurse from Salford.
Mobile therapist Anne Suffolk from Wales said the issue highlights wider problems with what goes into products. “This should be of concern to all of us. When you read the labels on some products and actually research what they are it can be quite scary,” she said.