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Microplastics in personal care products: Exploring perceptions of environmentalists, beauticians and students

Anderson, AG, Grose, J, Pahl, S, Thompson, RC and Wyles, K (2016) Microplastics in personal care products: Exploring perceptions of environmentalists, beauticians and students Marine Pollution Bulletin.

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Abstract

Microplastics enter the environment as a result of larger plastic items breaking down (‘secondary’) and from particles originally manufactured at that size (‘primary’). Personal care productsare an important contributor of secondary microplastics (typically referred to as ‘microbeads’), for example in toothpaste, facial scrubs and soaps. Consumers play an important role in influencing the demand for these products and therefore any associated environmental consequences. Hence we need to understand public perceptions in order to help reduce emissions of microplastics. This study explored awareness of plastic microbeads in personal care products in three groups: environmental activists, trainee beauticians and university students in South West England. Focus groups were run, where participants were shown the quantity of microbeads found in individual high-street personal care products. Qualitative analysis showed that while the environmentalists were originally aware of the issue, it lacked visibility and immediacy for the beauticians and students. Yet when shown the amount of plastic in a range of familiar everyday personal care products, all participants expressed considerable surprise and concern at the quantities and potential impact. Regardless of any perceived level of harm in the environment, the consensus was that their use was unnatural and unnecessary. This research could inform future communications with the public and industry as well as policy initiatives to phase out the use of microbeads.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Psychology
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Anderson, AGUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Grose, JUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Pahl, SUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Thompson, RCUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Wyles, KUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 2016
Identification Number : 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.10.048
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2016. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Uncontrolled Keywords : microplastic, personal care products, debris, microparticles, public attitudes
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 26 Oct 2016 14:49
Last Modified : 08 Nov 2017 02:08
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/812629

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