BEAUTYCALYPSE

Skincare & Clothes That Threaten Our Food Supply | Critical Consumer Quest #7

Microplastic-polluted fish (or honey, or beer, or mineral water) on your table is not going to vanish soon. Here’s why and what you must do about it.

If you thought that somehow, miraculously all those bad, bad effects of microplastic pollution were far away and not affecting you, well, it’s time to stick your head out of the sand.

Meanwhile, on the Acrylates Copolymer beach…

Scientists in Hamburg, Germany have just published the results of their Elbe, North Sea and Baltic Sea investigation – and these are quite alarming.

We knew already that microplastic particles were “magnetic” to certain cancerogenic toxins such as PAH.

Now, German researches have discovered that the longer microplastic particles sit in the oceans, the more dangerous toxins – coming from cigarettes, from petrochemicals and so on – do stick to them, creating a highly toxic cocktail in the sediment; way higher than so far estimated.

And of course, once those toxin-contaminated particles reach the sediment, their way into our food chain is sealed.

Bon apetit.

If you’re Pescetarian, you’re actually Plastictarian (and if you’re vegan, cheers to that microplastic ale or microfiber still water – no, there’s no escape)
microplastic-in-fish
> Sources:
– BUND Friends of the Earth Germany
– HAW Hamburg

Not so pretty:
Beauty & Fashion Industry

The microplastic pollution is a topic many of us are aware of, and yet many certainly have missed the info about what exactly contributes to the problem. “But it’s just the peelings”, said a friend shortly, “I don’t use scrubs with plastic anymore”.

The bitter truth is: it’s not “just the peelings”.

It could be your contact lens cleanser.

It could be your waterproof outdoor jacket or your fleece hoodie, your make-up or make-up remover, your lipstick or mascara, your body lotion or sun lotion, hand cream or shaving cream…

– and here I just have to catch my breath.

Cosmetic ingredients that cause microplastic disaster are NOT just used in peelings!

In fact, any skincare or make-up products that have these ingredients in them, contribute to the problem:

Acrylates Copolymer (AC)
Acrylates Crosspolymer (ACS)
Ethylen-Vinylacetat-Copolymere (EVA)
Nylon-6
Nylon-12
Polyethylen (PE)
Polyethylenterephthalat (PET)
Polypropylen (PP)
Polyquaternium-7 (P-7)
Polyurethan (PUR)

But the aquatic pollution doesn’t stop at microplastics, it has also an issue with microfibers.
Do
Polyamid (PA/ PI)
and
Polyester (PES)
sound familiar?

Research conducted on behalf of Patagonia found out that, quote “when synthetic jackets are washed, on average 1.7 grams of microfibers are released from the washing machine”. And older garments shed almost twice the amount, which makes garments made from recycled plastic not as ocean-friendly as we loved to believe they were!

This investigation published in June 2016 demonstrates clearly that microfibers are a „pervasive pollutant“ that could affect human health and the environment.

And sure they do have an effect! The fibres are as small and bioaccumulative as the microplastics from cosmetics, they end up in the same food chain.

The fibres’ size also allows them to be readily consumed by fish and other wildlife. These plastic fibres have the potential to bioaccumulate, concentrating toxins all the way up the food chain.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

Bon apetit!

Download this handy reminder to your smartphone to become microplastic/microfiber savvy NOW:
beautycalypse-2016-checklist-microplastic-culprits
> Sources:
– BUND Friends of the Earth Germany
(link opens PDF with products listed, but even if you don’t read German, this is going to be a highly enlightening read!)
– Microfiber pollution study

So what’s the conclusion?

1. The industry reacts very slowly, and one can only hope that with more consumers like you aware and questioning both the fashion and the beauty industry, more brands pioneered by passionate individuals will emerge and the research to solve this alarming problem in a a sustainable way will advance. 
2. Individuals who believe they can escape the problem are hopefully joining Mars One because otherwise, they can’t.

 

17 replies »

    • That’s the major caveat: not giving in to frustration. A blog post topic in its own right!

  1. Uh oh. I never, and I mean NEVER, gave a thought to micro plastics before reading your post. You’ve opened my eyes and I need to take a hard look at the products I have.

  2. Oh help! Just out of curiosity; a friend mentioned to me that knitting needles used to be made from coloured milk casein. Nowadays milk casein ‘plastics’ seem to have been replaced by melamine. What do you know about milk casein…….is it biodegradable or is it just as horrible as every other type of plastic?

    • This product is called Galalith and while it’s been replaced by fully synthetic materials, it is in fact still used by niche brands to make… knitting needles (and plektrons and fountain pens) 😉 It’s also completely biodegradable. That is not to say it’s an organic product of any kind; there’s a heavy use of toxic formaldehyde ivolved in the production of this material. HTH! 😉

      • Fascinating. Thank you for that. Also makes me laugh because I often refer to long life milk or even regular supermarket milk as plastic milk because of its taste and its inability to spoil. My description was not far off, after all. 😀

  3. Why does makeup create microplastics? I don’t argue, I just don’t understand how a lotion or a powder turn into microplastics? When you wash it off? But there are no particles, like in some peeling…

    • Basically because these synthetic ingredients are NOT bio-degradable and accumulate in the environment.