Environmental impacts of cosmetic products
We are literally dumping ecologically toxic chemicals into the planet with the cosmetic products that we use. It is one of those things that we do not realize. Makeup products are stuffed with artificial chemicals that, once wiped from our face, steadily make their way to the ocean. Chemical pollutants of the substances hit marine life, contributing to the overall problem of species extinction and environmental destruction.
In India, cosmetics are regulated by the Central Drug Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) under the overarching regulation Drug and Cosmetics Act 1940 & Rules 1945 (amended up to Dec.31st 2016). Article 3 (aaa) of the Drug and Cosmetic Act 1940 defines cosmetic as, "any article intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled or sprayed on, or introduced into, or otherwise applied to, the human body or any part thereof for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance, and includes any article intended for use as a component of cosmetic."
Microbeads are, one of the harmful chemicals that several cosmetics contain, typically made up of the chemical polythene, and publicized as a brand new technology that enables for light skin exfoliation. Naturally, the promoting behind microbeads did not mention the appalling injury they cause to the surroundings. British analysis disclosed that one single 5ml use of a facial scrub contains between 4,500 to 94,500 microbeads. The various environmentally harmful chemicals found in common makeup merchandise apart from microbead are TiO2, Paraben, Triclosan.
Cosmetics preservatives BHA and BHT have been known to kill fish and shellfish, as well as cause genetic mutations in amphibians. Also, DEA can be found in almost all cosmetics and skincare products. When it accumulates in the environment, it reacts with nitrates to form highly carcinogenic nitrosamines. And nitrosamines are fatally toxic to animal plankton, flatworms, fish, crustaceans, amphibians and more. All life on earth is dependent on the water cycle. Chemicals transferred to our water system can vaporize into the clouds and come back down as rain. Hence, every living being is affected.
Therefore, Canada and the U.S. have taken the bold step of ban microbeads from a cosmetic product.
In the early 1970s, the Member States of the EU decided to harmonize their national cosmetic legislation in order to enable the free circulation of cosmetic products within the Community, on the basis of commonly agreed safety standards. The Cosmetics Directive was adopted in 1976. This Directive was reevaluated in 2009 to enable further harmonization and a EU-wide Cosmetics Products Regulation entered into force in July 2013.
Korea's most important legal foundation for regulation and administration of cosmetics is the "Cosmetic Act". Numerous other regulations and standards expand upon this to provide a comprehensive framework to manage cosmetics in Korea. These regulations are enacted and executed by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), the Korean competent authority which also deals with cosmetic registration issues.
The two most important laws pertaining to cosmetics marketed in the U.S. are the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA). FDA regulates cosmetics under the authority of these laws.
All these regulations are focusing on banning microbeads from cosmetics products within the next few years. But not to mention, cosmetic and skin care companies have the choice of registering their products with the Environmental Protection Agency-although, this is often fully voluntary. And there are some brands that have made it their mission to create completely natural makeup that has only organic, vegetarian ingredients.
The environmental effects of cosmetic chemicals are several, however, there are steps customers can take to keep these toxins out of the environment. There are resources online that offer lists of safe companies and products and sustainability. Companies also have to take initiative to use solely ecologically safe packaging and recyclable plastic bottles. With education and accountable buying practices, customers will have the ability to prevent pollution caused by cosmetic chemicals.
Fatema Noor Jasia is a law graduate from Southeast University