Microplastics are small particles less than 5 millimeters in length, which can be harmful to our oceans and aquatic life. Microplastics can also be obtained unintentionally because of the wear of tear from larger pieces of plastic, such as car tires or plastic bags. However, they can be also added intentionally in certain skincare products such as exfoliating beads on the face or body scrubs.
ECHA has submitted a restriction proposal for microplastic particles that are intentionally added to mixtures used by consumers or professionals. If adopted, the restriction could reduce the number of microplastics released to the environment in Europe by about 400 thousand tons over 20 years. SNF manufactures polymers, which swell in water from an initial volume up to 1000 times, imparting viscosity to skincare or hair care products.
All SNF polymers in Personal Care are not solid particles when used in cosmetic formulations. In addition, a threshold solubility value of 2g/l has been added to the final restriction of the ECHA proposal in the 1.2 version of August 22, 2019. SNF polymers have a water solubility greater than the proposed value of 2g/l. SNF polymers, in liquid or powder, cannot be considered microplastics as our polymers succeed the water solubility criteria above the 2g/l restriction.