Por Natalie Andreoli
ABLM – Associação Brasileira do Lixo Marinho
Em 2012 duas ONGs holandesas (Stichting de Noordzee e Plastic Soup Foundation) iniciaram uma campanha para eliminação dos plásticos em cosméticos. Como parte da campanha foi lançado o aplicativo “Beat the Microbead” (Combata as Microesferas) para smartphones, que é capaz de escanear o código de barras do produtos de higiene pessoal e verificar se eles contêm ou não microesferas de plástico.
Em outubro de 2013, com o apoio do UNEP – United Nations Environment Programme (PNUMA – Programa das Nações Unidas para o Meio Ambiente) e da ONG Fauna & Flora International (FFI) foi lançada uma versão internacional do aplicativo. O aplicativo conta com um pequeno banco de dados de produtos que são comercializados no Brasil. Para ajudar a ampliar a lista de produtos é possível enviar fotos frente e verso (incluindo código de barras legível), através do próprio aplicativo, indicando no e-mail se o produto contém ou não microesferas. O aplicativo está disponível para ser baixado na Apple Store e na Google Play.
As microesferas usadas em produtos de higiene pessoal são feitas principalmente de polyethylene (polietileno – PE), mas também podem ser feitas de polypropylene (polipropileno – PP), copolymer polyethyleen terephthalate (polietileno tereftalato – PET), polimetilmetacrilato (PMMA) e nylon.
Por enquanto estão sendo catalogados apenas os seguintes tipos de produtos: 1. Esfoliantes / peelings; 2. Limpeza facial; 3. Ducha / banho; 4. Creme dental.
Para saber mais sobre a campanha acesse o site Beat the Microbead. Lá você encontra mais informações sobre evidências científicas, ONGs participantes, empresas que já se comprometeram a parar de utilizar as microesferas e muito mais.
Estudos científicos publicados sobre o assunto no Marine Pollution Bulletin:
Murray R. Gregory, Plastic ‘scrubbers’ in hand cleansers: a further (and minor) source for marine pollution identified, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 32, Issue 12, December 1996, Pages 867-871, ISSN 0025-326X.
Abstract: Small, inconspicuous fragments of plastic, generally < 0.5 mm across (i.e. microlitter) derived from some hand cleaners and cosmetic preparations, and also used with some airblast cleaning media, are an unusual addition to post-consumer waste entering marine waters. The environmental significance of this material is unknown, but here is a further example of the intrusion of anthropogenic waste of dubious value into marine ecosystems. It could impact sea-surface microlayer ecosystems and the meiofauna of intertidal sediments. It is also speculated that these finely granulated plastics, once dispersed through the oceanic water column, could prejudice the results of some ambitious particulate carbon flux experiments as well as interfere with elemental and mineralogic composition analyses of suspended particles. They may also warrant attention when determining heavy metal concentrations in contaminated fine-grained sediments of estuarine and harbour environments.
Lisa S. Fendall, Mary A. Sewell, Contributing to marine pollution by washing your face: Microplastics in facial cleansers, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 58, Issue 8, August 2009, Pages 1225-1228, ISSN 0025-326X.
Abstract: Plastics pollution in the ocean is an area of growing concern, with research efforts focusing on both the macroplastic (>5 mm) and microplastic (<5 mm) fractions. In the 1990s it was recognized that a minor source of microplastic pollution was derived from liquid hand-cleansers that would have been rarely used by the average consumer. In 2009, however, the average consumer is likely to be using microplastic-containing products on a daily basis, as the majority of facial cleansers now contain polyethylene microplastics which are not captured by wastewater plants and will enter the oceans. Four microplastic-containing facial cleansers available in New Zealand supermarkets were used to quantify the size of the polythelene fragments. Three-quarters of the brands had a modal size of <100 microns and could be immediately ingested by planktonic organisms at the base of the food chain. Over time the microplastics will be subject to UV-degradation and absorb hydrophobic materials such as PCBs, making them smaller and more toxic in the long-term. Marine scientists need to educate the public to the dangers of using products that pose an immediate and long-term threat to the health of the oceans and the food we eat.
Keywords: Microplastic; Facial cleanser; Ocean pollution; Food chain; Toxic contaminants
Marcus Eriksen, Sherri Mason, Stiv Wilson, Carolyn Box, Ann Zellers, William Edwards, Hannah Farley, Stephen Amato, Microplastic pollution in the surface waters of the Laurentian Great Lakes, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 77, Issues 1–2, 15 December 2013, Pages 177-182, ISSN 0025-326X.
Abstract: Neuston samples were collected at 21 stations during an ∼700 nautical mile (∼1300 km) expedition in July 2012 in the Laurentian Great Lakes of the United States using a 333 μm mesh manta trawl and analyzed for plastic debris. Although the average abundance was approximately 43,000 microplastic particles/km2, station 20, downstream from two major cities, contained over 466,000 particles/km2, greater than all other stations combined. SEM analysis determined nearly 20% of particles less than 1 mm, which were initially identified as microplastic by visual observation, were aluminum silicate from coal ash. Many microplastic particles were multi-colored spheres, which were compared to, and are suspected to be, microbeads from consumer products containing microplastic particles of similar size, shape, texture and composition. The presence of microplastics and coal ash in these surface samples, which were most abundant where lake currents converge, are likely from nearby urban effluent and coal burning power plants.
Keywords: Plastic pollution; Marine debris; Great Lakes; Microplastic; Microbeads