Microbead

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This article is about plastic microspheres commonly used in cosmetics. For microbeads of varying composition that are used in research, see Microbead (research). For other uses, see Microsphere (disambiguation).

Microbeads are manufactured solid plastic particles of less than five millimeters in their largest dimension.[1] They are most frequently made of polyethylene but can be of other petrochemical plastics such as polypropylene and polystyrene. They are used in exfoliating personal care products, toothpastes and in biomedical and health-science research.[2]

Microbeads can cause plastic particle water pollution and pose an environmental hazard for aquatic animals in freshwater and ocean water. In the US, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 phases out microbeads in rinse off cosmetics by July 2017.

Types[edit]

Microbeads are manufactured solid plastic particles of less than five millimeters in their largest dimension,[3] and commercially available in particle sizes from 10 micrometres (0.00039 in) to 1 millimetre (0.039 in).[citation needed] Low melting temperature and fast phase transitions make them especially suitable for creating porous structures in ceramics and other materials.[citation needed] They are most frequently made of polyethylene or other petrochemical plastics such as polypropylene and polystyrene.[4][5]

Use[edit]

Microbeads are added as an exfoliating agent to cosmetics and personal care products, such as soap, facial scrub and toothpastes.[6] They may be added to over-the-counter drugs.[citation needed] In biomedical and health science research microbeads are used in microscopy techniques, fluid visualization, fluid flow analysis, and process troubleshooting.[7][8]

Sphericity and particle size uniformity create a ball-bearing effect in creams and lotions, resulting in a silky texture and spreadability. Smoothness and roundness can provide lubrication. Colored microspheres add visual appeal to cosmetic products.[9]

Environmental effects[edit]

Microbeads are washed down the drain, can pass unfiltered through the sewage treatment plants and make their way into rivers and canals, resulting in plastic particle water pollution.[10] A team of researchers from Uppsala University found out one of the various animals affected by microbeads was perch, a freshwater fish. When born into polluted environments containing high quantities of polystyrene particles they chose to eat these microbeads instead of real food like zooplankton. Plastic-eating perch demonstrated negative behavioral effects; for example, they ignored the smell of predators which left them vulnerable.[11] The beads can absorb and concentrate pollutants like pesticides and polycyclic hydrocarbons.[6][12] Microbeads have been found to pollute the Great Lakes in high concentrations, particularly Lake Erie. A study from the State University of New York, found anywhere from 1,500 to 1.1 million microbeads per square mile on the surface of the Great Lakes. [13]

One study suggested that environmentally relevant levels of polyethylene microbeads had no impact on larva.[14] Some wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in the U.S. and Europe can remove microbeads with an efficiency of greater than 98 percent, others may not.[15][16] As such, other sources of microplastic pollution (e.g. fibers and car tires) are more likely to be associated with environmental hazards.[citation needed]

Banning production and sale in cosmetics[edit]

In 2012, the North Sea Foundation and the Plastic Soup Foundation launched an app that allows Dutch consumers to check whether personal care products contain microbeads.[17] In the summer of 2013, the United Nations Environment Programme and UK based NGO Fauna and Flora International joined the partnership to further develop the app for international audiences. The app has enjoyed success, convincing a number of large multinationals to stop using microbeads,[18] and is available in seven languages. There are many natural and biodegradable alternatives to microbeads that have no environmental impact when washed down the drain, as they will either decompose or get filtered out before being released into the natural environment. Some examples to use as natural exfoliates include ground up almonds, oatmeal, seasalt and coconut husks.[19] Burt’s Bees and St. Ives use apricot pits and cocoa husks in their products instead of microbeads to reduce their negative environmental impact.[20]

Due to the increase in bans of microbeads in the USA, many cosmetic companies are also phasing out microbeads from their production lines. L’Oreal is planning to phase out polyethylene microbeads in the exfoliates, cleansers and shower gels from their products by 2017.[21] Johnson and Johnson, who have already started to phase out microbeads at the end of 2015, will by 2017 not be producing any polyethylene microbeads in their products.[22] Lastly, Crest is completely phasing out microbeads from their toothpastes by February 2016.[23]

Canada[edit]

On May 18, 2015 Canada took its first steps toward banning microbeads when a Member of Parliament from Toronto, John McKay, introduced Bill C-680, which would ban the sale of microbeads.[24] According to Environment and Climate Change Canada[25] the government of Canada will be suggesting that microbeads be added to the list of toxic substances in the Canadian Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA), 1999.

The first Canadian province to take action against microbeads is Ontario, where Maire-France Lalonde, a Member of the Provincial Parliament introduced Microbead Elimination and Monitoring Act.[26] This bill would enforce the ban of manufacturing microbeads in cosmetics, facial scrubs or washes, and similar products. The bill also proposes that there will be yearly samples taken from the Canadian Great Lakes, which will be analyzed for traces of microbeads.[26]

Pointe-Claire mayor, Morris Trudeau and members of the City Council requested its residents to sign a petition asking governments of Canada and Quebec to ban “the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetic and cleansing products.” Trudeau suggested that if Quebec bans microbeads, manufactures will be encouraged to stop producing them in their products.[27]

Megan Leslie, Halifax Member of Parliament presented a motion against microbeads in the House of Commons, which got “unanimous support” and is hoping for them to be listed under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act as a toxin.[28]

As of June 29, 2016, the Federal Government of Canada added microbeads in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act under Schedule 1 as a toxic substance.[29]

UK[edit]

The UK government is to introduce a ban of microbeads from all cosmetics by the end of 2017. They will be banned from sale in the UK from the end of 2017.[30]

USA[edit]

National[edit]

At the federal level, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 prohibits the manufacture and introduction into interstate commerce of rinse-off cosmetics containing intentionally-added plastic microbeads by July 1, 2017. Representative Frank Pallone proposed the bill in 2014 (H.R. 4895, reintroduced in 2015 as H.R. 1321). On December 7, 2015, his proposal was narrowed by amendment to rinse-off cosmetics, and passed unanimously by the House.[31] The American Chemistry Council and other industry groups supported the final bill,[32][33][6] which the Senate passed on December 18, 2015, and the president signed on December 28, 2015.[31]

States[edit]

Illinois became the first U.S. state to enact legislation banning the manufacture and sale of products containing microbeads; the two-part ban goes into effect in 2018 and 2019.[34] The Personal Care Products Council, a trade group for the cosmetics industry, came out in support of the Illinois bill.[35] Other states have followed.

As of October 2015 all state bans except California's ban, allow biodegradable microbeads.[36][37] Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble opposed the California law.[38]

State/Territory Date Enacted Effective date Scope
California California October 8, 2015[38] January 1, 2018 (manufacture of personal care products)-Jan. 1, 2020 (sale of over-the-counter drugs) Restricted to rinse-off cosmetics that contain more than 1 ppm of microbeads. Does not allow biodegradable microbeads.[37][39]
Colorado Colorado March 26, 2015 Jan. 1, 2018 (manufacture of personal care products)-Jan. 1, 2020 (sale of over-the-counter drugs)[40] Restricted to rinse-off cosmetics. Allows biodegradable microbeads.
Connecticut Connecticut June 30, 2015 Jan. 1, 2018 (manufacture of personal care products)-Jan. 1, 2020 (sale of over-the-counter drugs)[41] Restricted to rinse-off cosmetics. Allows biodegradable microbeads.
Illinois Illinois 8 June 2014[42] Jan. 1, 2018 (manufacture of personal care products)-Jan. 1, 2020 (sale of over-the-counter drugs)[43] Restricted to rinse-off cosmetics. Allows biodegradable microbeads. Excludes prescription drugs.
Indiana Indiana April 15, 2015 Jan. 1, 2018 (manufacture of personal care products)-Jan. 1, 2020 (sale of over-the-counter drugs) Restricted to rinse-off cosmetics. Allows biodegradable microbeads.[44]
Maine Maine March 2015 Jan. 1, 2018 (manufacture of personal care products)-Jan. 1, 2020 (sale of over-the-counter drugs) Restricted to rinse-off cosmetics. Allows biodegradable microbeads.
Maryland Maryland May 12, 2015 Jan. 1, 2018 (manufacture of personal care products)-Jan. 1, 2020 (sale of over-the-counter drugs)[45] Restricted to rinse-off cosmetics. Allows biodegradable microbeads.
New Jersey New Jersey March 2015[46][47] Jan. 1, 2018 (manufacture of personal care products)-Jan. 1, 2020 (sale of over-the-counter drugs)[48] Restricted to rinse-off cosmetics. Allows biodegradable microbeads.[49]
Wisconsin Wisconsin July 1, 2015[50] January 1, 2018 (manufacture of personal care products)-Jan. 1, 2020 (sale of over-the-counter drugs) Restricted to rinse-off cosmetics. Allows biodegradable microbeads. Excludes prescription drugs.

In 2014, legislation was voted on but failed to pass in New York.[51]

Local[edit]

In 2015, Erie County, New York passed the first local ban in the state of New York. It bans the sale and distribution of all plastic microbeads (including biodegradable ones) including from personal care products.[52] As of September 2015, its prohibition on sales is stronger than any other law in the country.[53] It was enacted on August 12, 2015[54] and should take effect in February, 2016. This appears to be the first ban to go into effect in the country. In November 2015 four other NY counties followed suit.[55]

The Netherlands[edit]

The Netherlands was the first country to announce its intent to be free of microbeads in cosmetics by the end of 2016.[56] State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment Mansveld has said she is pleased with the progress made by the members of the Nederlandse Cosmetica Vereniging (NCV), the Dutch trade organisation for producers and importers of cosmetics,[57] who have ceased using microbeads or are working towards removing microbeads from their product. By 2017 80% of them should have completed the transition to a microbead-free product line. [according to whom?] Among the NCV's members are large multinationals such as Unilever, L'Oréal, Colgate-Palmolive, Henkel, and Johnson & Johnson.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Arthur et al. (eds.). 2009. Proceedings of the International Research Workshop on the Occurrence, Effects, and Fate of Microplastic Marine Debris. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Technical Memorandum. NOS-OR&R-30
  2. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07lfkq2
  3. ^ Imam, Jareen (19 September 2015). "8 trillion microbeads pollute U.S. aquatic habitats daily". CNN. Retrieved 20 September 2015. 
  4. ^ "Microbeads". 5 Gyres. Retrieved 2 October 2015. 
  5. ^ "Microbeads – A Science Summary". Environment Canada. July 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Danny Lewis (10 December 2015). "Five Things to Know About Congress' Vote to Ban Microbeads". Smithsonian magazine. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  7. ^ Paint and Coatings Industry Magazine, January 1st, 2010 : Opaque Polyethylene Microspheres for the coatings applications
  8. ^ Kieler, Ashlee (2015-12-29). "Say Goodbye To Microbeads: President Signs Act To Ban Microscopic Plastic Particles". Consumerist. Retrieved 2016-06-13. 
  9. ^ Solid Polyethylene Microspheres for effects in color cosmetics Cosmetics and Toiletries.com, April 2010
  10. ^ Fendall, L.S.; Sewell, M.A. (2009). "Contributing to marine pollution by washing your face: microplastics in facial cleansers". Marine Pollution Bulletin. 58 (8): 1225–1228. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.04.025. 
  11. ^ "Fish Freaking LOVE To Eat Plastic, And That's A Problem". The Huffington Post. 2016-06-03. Retrieved 2016-06-15. 
  12. ^ Johnston, Christopher (June 25, 2013). "Personal Grooming Products May Be Harming Great Lakes Marine Life.". Retrieved February 1, 2016. 
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  14. ^ Kaposi, Katrina L.; Mos, Benjamin; Kelaher, Brendan P.; Dworjanyn, Symon A. (2014-01-01). "Ingestion of microplastic has limited impact on a marine larva". Environmental Science Technology. 48 (3): 1638–1645. doi:10.1021/es404295e. ISSN 1520-5851. PMID 24341789. 
  15. ^ Murphy, Fionn; Ewins, Ciaran; Carbonnier, Frederic; Quinn, Brian (2016-06-07). "Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) as a Source of Microplastics in the Aquatic Environment". Environmental Science & Technology. 50 (11): 5800–5808. doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b05416. ISSN 0013-936X. 
  16. ^ Carr, Steve A.; Liu, Jin; Tesoro, Arnold G. (2016-03-15). "Transport and fate of microplastic particles in wastewater treatment plants". Water Research. 91: 174–182. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2016.01.002. 
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  22. ^ "Microbeads". Our Safety & Care Commitment. Johnson and Johnson. December 10, 2016. Retrieved February 1, 2016. 
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  24. ^ "Bill C-680". House of Commons of Canada. Retrieved February 1, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Microbeads- A Science Summary". Environment and Climate Change Canada. Government of Canada. July 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2016. 
  26. ^ a b Lalonde, Maire-France. "Bill 75, Microbead Elimination and Monitoring Act, 2015". Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Retrieved February 1, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Pointe-Claire asks for a ban on plastic microbeads". City of Pointe-Claire. September 11, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2016. 
  28. ^ Windsor, Hillary (April 16, 2015). "Megan Leslie wants a ban on microbeads.". Retrieved February 1, 2016. 
  29. ^ http://environmentaldefence.ca/2016/06/29/statement-environmental-defences-maggie-macdonald-federal-governments-decision-microbeads/
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  31. ^ a b "Statement by the Press Secretary on H.R. 1321, S. 2425". The White House. 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-29. 
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  33. ^ "H.R.1321 - To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prohibit the manufacture and introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of rinse-off cosmetics containing intentionally-added plastic microbeads.". Congress.gov. Congress.gov. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  34. ^ "Governor Quinn Signs Bill to Ban Microbeads, Protect Illinois Waterways". Illinois Government News Network. June 8, 2014. 
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  36. ^ Paul Rogers (9 October 2015) Plastic microbeads and state coal investments banned as Gov. Jerry Brown signs new laws East Bay Times.
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  39. ^ California Lawmakers Approve Ban On Plastic Microbeads In Cosmetics Lydia O'Connor, The Huffington Post,8 September 2015
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  41. ^ "Bill No. 1502". State of Connecticut. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
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  44. ^ "HOUSE ENROLLED ACT No. 1185". State of Indiana. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  45. ^ "House Bill 216" (PDF). State of Maryland. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
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  47. ^ Sergio Bichao, (March 23, 2015). "Products with microbeads will disappear from N.J. stores thanks to new ban". Mycentarlnewjersey.com. Gannett. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  48. ^ "ASSEMBLY, No. 3083". State of New Jersey. 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
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  50. ^ O'Brien, Brendan (July 1, 2015). "Wisconsin Governor Walker signs bill banning microbeads". Reuters. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  51. ^ Abrams, Rachel (May 22, 2015). "Fighting Pollution From Microbeads Used in Soaps and Creams". New York Times. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  52. ^ "Local Law #3, 2015" (PDF). Erie County. 2015. Retrieved 24 September 2015. 
  53. ^ Warner, Gene (11 August 2015). "Consumers, companies prepare for Erie County microbead ban". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 24 September 2015. 
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  56. ^ "Beat the Microbead: Nederland spreekt zich uit". Plastic Soup Foundation. October 29, 2014. 
  57. ^ "Appreciatie RIVM rapport en stand van zaken microplastics en geneesmiddelen". Rijksoverheid. October 28, 2014. 

External links[edit]