Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Mar Pollut Bull. 2009 Aug;58(8):1225-1228. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.04.025. Epub 2009 May 28.

Contributing to marine pollution by washing your face: microplastics in facial cleansers.

Author information

1
School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand.
2
School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. Electronic address: m.sewell@auckland.ac.nz.

Abstract

Plastics pollution in the ocean is an area of growing concern, with research efforts focusing on both the macroplastic (>5mm) and microplastic (<5mm) fractions. In the 1990 s it was recognized that a minor source of microplastic pollution was derived from liquid hand-cleansers that would have been rarely used by the average consumer. In 2009, however, the average consumer is likely to be using microplastic-containing products on a daily basis, as the majority of facial cleansers now contain polyethylene microplastics which are not captured by wastewater plants and will enter the oceans. Four microplastic-containing facial cleansers available in New Zealand supermarkets were used to quantify the size of the polythelene fragments. Three-quarters of the brands had a modal size of <100 microns and could be immediately ingested by planktonic organisms at the base of the food chain. Over time the microplastics will be subject to UV-degradation and absorb hydrophobic materials such as PCBs, making them smaller and more toxic in the long-term. Marine scientists need to educate the public to the dangers of using products that pose an immediate and long-term threat to the health of the oceans and the food we eat.

PMID:
19481226
DOI:
10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.04.025
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center