The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) continues its commitment to the fight against microplastics by submitting a proposal for a restriction on intentionally added microplastic particles in mixtures used by consumers or professionals.
Microplastics are generally less than 5 mm and can be produced by the wear and tear of plastics but are also added voluntarily to certain products for specific uses (exfoliating beads in scrubs, detergents, paints, horticulture…). Their scope of application is very wide.
The restriction established by ECHA concerns the placing on the market of any polymer containing microplastic particles with a mass by mass ratio of more than 0.1%.
Microplastics are notably found in the following products:
- Detergents and maintenance products
- Paints and surface treatments
- Building materials
- Therapeutic products
- Common products used in the agricultural and petroleum sectors
The potential socio-economic impact of this measure on industry has been studied. It was concluded that the implementation of the restriction would be economically sustainable, even for the agricultural sector, which is now identified as the one that intentionally adds the most microplastics.
But why a restriction on microplastics?
These microparticles, when released into the environment, are absorbed by animals (fish, shellfish, etc.) and can then be ingested by humans.
The study of the effects of marine microplastics on human health is complicated because it is a material found everywhere in our environment (air, tap or bottled water, clothing…), but experiments show that microplastics harm aquatic species and have a direct impact on the environment.
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