Cosmetics companies have promised to remove plastic "beads" from their products, and on Sunday, an independent survey showed that these tiny particles were washed out of the bathroom sink, it will eventually be absorbed by fish and other marine life.
13 companies, including international cosmetics, said they planned to stop using exfoliating hand sanitizers and creams made of polyethylene and other plastics.
Only the German discount supermarket Aldi cannot make a firm commitment to removing beads from its facewash.
Tony Burns of Aldi said: "This is something we keep looking back.
"Tesco, P & G, Estee Lauder, Clarins, Superdrug and Sainsbury have all indicated that the beads will be removed but there is no way to confirm when they will be removed.
"We are aware of the environmental concerns of certain types of plastic particles.
"We plan to phase out our brand and work with our suppliers to investigate alternatives," a Tesco spokesman said . ".
P & G said it would not add plastic beads to any new product, and Estee Lauder said it "is currently removing the exfoliating plastic beads from our small number of products that contain them ".
Superdrug says it is currently working on a plan to remove beads from its own products.
Sainsbury said they launched two plastic beads last year, but now plans to stop adding them to any new product.
"These products will not be replaced once they are sold," a spokesman said . ".
Clarins, a French cosmetics company, said: "We have realized that [microbeads]
May cause problems to the environment.
Therefore, we have decided to eliminate them as soon as possible and are already trying to find alternative ingredients.
"Unilever, boots, Mark and Spencer, and the King of shaving, both promised to end production by the end of next year, while L'Oreal, Johnson & Johnson, and Lijie said they would stop for 2017.
"In February 2014, we stopped using plastic beads in new products," Boots said . ".
"We are also carefully managing our stock to ensure that the vast majority of the elderly
Formula products will exit the store by the end of December 2015.
Recitt Benckiser, maker of Clearasil, said the beads are on the "not allowed" list and it has started removing them from existing product lines.
Over the past 20 years, plastic particles have become ubiquitous throughout the "personal care" industry, despite the lack of any comprehensive assessment of the environmental or wildlife impacts.
A study led by Mark Anthony Brown of the University of California and published in last December found that potential toxic pollutants, such as non-phenol, Fei and triclosan, are glued to micro-plastic beads, when they are consumed, they are carried into the tissue of the animal.
Dr. Brown said that up to the "priority pollutants" are considered persistent biological pollutants by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Accumulated or toxic, often closely related to microplastics in the environment, including small particles formed by the decomposition of larger plastic waste.
In an unpublished study, Dr. Brown and his colleagues found that a typical household product with a micro-plastic exfoliant, such as washing a face, could contain millions of beads, some are as small as a few millimeters per thousand.
Smaller particles are more dangerous for wildlife because they are more likely to be absorbed through the lining of the intestines or lungs, thus being absorbed into important tissues of the organism.
"The research we have done so far shows that each product has a different size, some in millimeters or so, some as small as a few microns [
A few parts per million.
Some people look like they 've been ground under a microscope.
"There are concerns that they are carriers of harmful substances," Dr. Brown said . ".
The test showed that this fat
The most worrying soluble contaminants in environmental institutions-such as cancer --
Causing PCBs-can accumulate on the surface of plastic pellets with a large surface area compared to the volume.
Dr. Brown said these concentrations may be millions of times higher than typical background concentrations in seawater.
Chris Fowler of the cosmetics and perfume association said it has made members aware of concerns about plastic beads, but it is a policy of its own by individual companies.
"If the company decides not to use plastic beads anymore, we have to remember that it will take a while before we start seeing this on the shelf, because there is a need to reformulate," he said . ".
No one seems to know-or be prepared to admit-when plastic particles were first used, or which company took the lead.
None of the 15 or so companies we asked could tell us when the beads were initially included in their formula.
But Unilever is one of the first companies to promise to stop using plastic beads, offering lead in the form of a 1972 patent to protect the intellectual property rights of plastic beads that are used as exfoliants.
The patent was filed in the name of Willis J beach in Saginaw, Michigan, where he proposed a skin
Clean with "plastic Synthetic Resin.
The patent states that plastic resin particles do not "clog the drain pipe poured into it ".
Beads are too small to be captured by filters used to treat wastewater until they are discharged into rivers, streams and the final ocean.
Given the increasing scientific evidence that plastic particles are related to persistent pollutants such as PCBs, few companies are now trying to justify the use of plastic particles.
"No producer will make a public statement.
If they admit they are at fault, then they are responsible for the pollution they cause, "said Stiv Wilson of the 5 Gyres Institute in the United States, a campaign to abolish beads.