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70 TESTING


Biobased testing required to screen ‘natural’ ingredients


n Haley Gershon - Beta Analytic, US


Cosmetic products often comprise petrochemical ingredients and non- biodegradable plastics such as microbeads. When cosmetics containing microbeads are used, the plastic gets rinsed off and can enter waterways. As consumers become more aware both of where their cosmetic products come from and where they end up, they tend to pay greater attention to product labels. As a result, consumer demand is flourishing for cosmetic products that are free from synthetic ingredients. The use of certain synthetic ingredients such as microbeads has become a global concern, leading several countries to limit or ban their inclusion in personal care products. These consumer trends and regulatory initiatives push manufacturers to shift to naturally sourced ingredients instead, however, the authenticity of ‘natural’ claims is often questioned. Biobased testing is a viable analytical tool for identifying presence of petrochemical derived ingredients such as microbeads and other additives which helps to substantiate natural claims and identify fraud.


Background: banning the microbead Microbeads are: “extremely small pieces of plastic, used especially in cleaning products as exfoliating agents,” commonly referred to as microplastics.1


Scientific research


demonstrates over eight trillion microbeads are introduced into aquatic environments daily within the United States alone.2 Worldwide, bans or limits on microbeads in cosmetics are prevalent as individuals seem to fear microbead entry into waterways, viewing synthetic ingredients disruptive to the environment.


In the United States, the Microbead-Free


Waters Act of 2015 was passed, prohibiting the production and packaging of rinse-off cosmetics that contain microbeads manufactured as of July 2017, and banning distribution of cosmetics containing microplastics beginning July 2018.3


This act


reflects the United States’ commitment to address environmental issues and prevent microbeads from entering waterways.


PERSONAL CARE EUROPE


The UK’s ban appears as one of the toughest campaigns on eliminating microbeads as it strives to stop billions of microplastics from entering the ocean each year. These regulatory changes are part of a


wider trend in favour of environmentally friendly products and a rise in consumer demand for ‘natural’ labelled cosmetic products containing plant-derived ingredients.


Plant-based alternatives Manufacturers and distributors are shifting towards production of cosmetics containing only plant-based ingredients to accommodate consumer preference for naturally sourced and microbead-free products. Skin care company, grums aarhus, based in Denmark, is an example of a manufacturer catering to the natural cosmetics trend.7


In an effort to create


Likewise, in the Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act identifies microbeads as toxic substances and prohibits: “...the manufacture, import, and sale of toiletries used to exfoliate or cleanse that contain plastic microbeads...” beginning January 2018 and completely banning sales effective July 2019.4


This regulation aims to


protect marine environments from the threat of microbead pollution. In European countries there has been a


strong pushback regarding the use of microplastics in cosmetics. In March 2018, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) commenced an investigation on microplastics due to concerns that: “Once released to the environment, [microplastics] may be accumulated by animals, including fish and shellfish and consequently consumed as food by consumers.”5


This


suggests the need to limit or ban microplastics in cosmetics stems from the impact of microplastics on the environment. Coinciding with the ECHA efforts, individual countries, such as the UK, are jumping on the bandwagon to combat microbeads. Over 72% of the major cosmetic companies in the UK ceased to sell cosmetics containing microbeads by the end of 2017.6


environmentally friendly skin care face scrubs, grums aarhus’ product ingredients include recycled coffee grounds as an alternative exfoliator to microbead plastics. Skin care products by grums are packaged in plant-based material derived from sugarcane produced by Braskem. Biobased testing is used to demonstrate biobased content as part of the Braskem “I’m Green” eco-label.


Are ‘natural’ labelled cosmetics truly natural?


Consumer and activist groups are becoming vocal about the impact that microplastics and residues from synthetic cosmetic products may have on the environment and waterways. There seems to be growing scrutiny of product label claims and provenance of ingredients, and the preference for premium all-natural products is widening, which boosts the incentive for manufacturers to display the lucrative “100% natural” label. However at a global level, regulations


are lax when it comes to ‘natural’ labelling within the beauty and cosmetics industry, and accusations of ‘greenwashing’ may occur as competitors or consumers identify fraudulent “100% natural” labels on


September 2018


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