There is increasing evidence that microbeads from a variety of personal care products, particularly face and body scrubs, are contributing to an increasing level of marine pollution is putting pressure on legislators in both Europe and North America to outlaw it as an ingredient.
In response, a number of ingredients players have come up with biodegradeable solutions that will not cause long-term pollution issues, with Evonik now launching two different products aimed at replacing the tiny plastic beads.
Specialty silica-based alternative
Sipernat 2200 PC and Sipernate 22PC are made from specialty silica, developed from a prototype product that was launched in 2013 and is already being used by a number of prominent multinational cosmetic companies for shower gels, facial care and body peeling products.
The two silica-based microbead alternatives have been defined as nature identical by the Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association, NATRUE, giving them an important boost within the still fast growing natural and organic category.
According to Evonik, although synthetic amorphous silica is identical to naturally occurring silica in chemical terms, its purity is significantly higher than natural silica due to the technical production process.
Leading players are all working to replace microbeads
"All leading manufacturers of cosmetics and body care products are currently working to replace abrasive microplastics particles," explains Andreas Fischer, the head of the Silica Business Line of the Evonik Resource Efficiency Segment.
Bans have been implemented in a number of states in the US, including New York and Illinois, whereas in Europe a number of leading multinational personal care providers have opted to remove microbeads through self-imposed regulation.
But with US legislators increasingly moving towards a nationwide ban, many experts believe it will be a matter of time before the relevant EU authorities follow suit.
Back in April, a US-based jojoba supplier, Desert Whale Jojoba Company, started to supply a biodegradeable ingredient called Jojoba Scrubeads, which is created from castor oil and jojoba wax and is said to be a viable alternative to microbeads.