Response to articles on plastic microbeads used in cosmetics

The Guardian has recently published articles about the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetics mentioning a number of phthalate plasticisers.
There are a couple of points ECPI would like to clarify.


  • Regarding the use of EU classified phthalates, only DBP and DIBP were ever employed in cosmetics or body care products but are no longer found in products produced and commercialised in the European Union due to provisions of the European Cosmetics legislation, which prohibits the use of substances classified for carcinogenic, mutagenic and repro-toxic (CMR) hazards. Today, only DMP and DEP are used in cosmetics in the EU because they have not been classified or restricted since they do not pose any risks for our health or the environment. Of course, this EU legislation does not apply in other regions of the world, such as the US, where classified low phthalates are still permitted for use, although some companies have stopped using them.


  • Phthalates do not readily migrate and leach into the environment from articles because they are physically bound within the PVC matrix, even in abraded particles that may be collected in the form of dust.