Cosmetics and body care

Microplastics (microbeads)  
Microplastics  can be used in scrubs, toothpastes, shower gels, shampoos and cosmetics.  They are non-biodegradable, typically measure less than 1mm wide and once flushed out to sea absorb concentrated toxic chemicals, which then contaminate marine life when they are eaten. The plastics most commonly used are polyethylene and polypropylene, but polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and nylon are used too. 

Parabens are endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). There are five parabens commonly found in cosmetics, shampoos, deodorants, body lotions and sanitary wipes. Studies have shown links with breast cancer and fertility.  Phthalates, also an EDC, can be found in perfumes and make-up.  EDCs also have negative impacts on wildlife.  Antibacterial agents used in cosmetics can damage marine life. 

Palm oil
Palm oil is used in lipsticks, shampoos and soap, as well as many food items. Palm oil can be listed under a vast array of different names. Palm oil cultivation has been linked with the destruction of primary (untouched) forest – habitats critical for endangered species (including the orangutan), carbon storage and the provision of freshwater for communities, with soil erosion and fertiliser use, biodiversity loss, excessive pesticide use, fires, forcible displacement of local communities, workers' rights violations and the use of child and forced labour.  


The main issues related to rubber plantations are protection of high conservation value forest, ensuring efficient water management and protecting the rights of local communities and workers. 

Email for references for any of the above

Ask the Q