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Microplastics should be banned in cosmetics to save oceans
 

Cosmetics companies must be banned from using plastic microbeads in scrubs, toothpaste and beauty products because of
the marine pollution they are causing.

Microplastic pollution comes from the fragmentation of larger pieces of plastic waste, small synthetic fibres from clothing and the
microbeads used in cosmetics and other products. The microbeads in scrubs, shower gels and toothpastes are an avoidable
part of this plastic pollution problem. A single shower could result in 100,000 plastic particles entering the ocean

Microbeads are part of the wider issue of microplastics. Their small size means that they can be ingested by marine life and have
the potential to transfer chemicals to and from the marine environment.

Between 80,000 and 219,000 tonnes of microplastics enter the European marine environment a year. Opportunities to capture microplastics through enhanced washing-machine filtration systems and improved waste and water sewage treatment processes
must also be explored.

The committee called for urgent research, saying: “If someone eats six oysters, it is likely they will have eaten 50 particles of
microplastics. Relatively little research has been done on potential impacts to human health or the marine ecology.”

Most of the world’s ocean plastics by weight are large pieces of debris (eg fishing equipment, bottles and plastic bags). However,
the dominant type of debris by quantity is microplastics. It is estimated that 15-51tn microplastic particles have accumulated in the
ocean, with microplastics reported at the sea surface and on shorelines worldwide. They are also present in remote locations
including deep sea sediments and arctic sea ice.

塑膠微粒有98%的材質是聚乙烯(PE),已有許多研究證實PE能吸附包含DDT、多環芳香烴、含氟化合物等環境中的有害物質;再
加上塑膠微粒直徑介於10um1mm之間,容易遭浮游生物、小漁攝食而進入食物鏈中,最終人類將食用到塑膠和有毒物質。台灣環
保署表示,化粧品等清潔用品所含塑膠微粒僅毫米大小,使用後經沖洗流入水域及海洋,因其無法於環境中自然分解且粒徑過小不易
蒐集清除。 環保署也重視此議題,經蒐集各國塑膠微粒管理情形,國際多著重於管理個人護理產品(如化粧品、洗面乳、沐浴乳)
之塑膠微粒含量,目前美國 於西元20151228日完成2015年無微粒水域法(Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015) 立法,於西元
2017  7  1 日起分階段管制。 

Source:環保署/看守台灣協會/上下游/Theguardiun, Photograph: Hennel/Alamy

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