We are repeatedly asked whether our coatings contain microplastics. The topic is important and I am happy about everyone who deals with the ingredients of the products they consume. I have summarized all relevant information for you, which I quote from a very informative article about microplastics from the Federal Environment Agency:
Nail varnishes partly contain polymers, like those of OZN. Polymers can fall under the umbrella of microplastics, but they are water-soluble and therefore not microplastics in the actual sense. The technical definition based on the criteria of the EU Ecolabel is as follows:
Microplastics: particles less than 5 mm in size of an insoluble macromolecular plastic obtained by one of the following processes:
(a) a polymerisation process such as polyaddition or polycondensation or a similar process using monomers or other starting materials;
(b) Chemical modification of natural or synthetic macromolecules;
(c) microbial fermentation;
This definition refers to solid, water-insoluble particles and was published in the Official Journal of the EU at the end of June 16.
In contrast to microplastics, water-soluble synthetic polymers are mostly used for different technical purposes in nail polish. For example, acrylic acid copolymers are used as film formers. These water-soluble polymers are not present as solid particles in the products. Soluble substances such as acrylic acid copolymers are therefore not microplastics as defined above.
In contrast to solid water-insoluble microplastic particles, water-soluble synthetic polymers can be individually evaluated for each polymer for any hazards according to the requirements of chemical legislation, since the tests with fish, daphnia and algae provided for in REACh and the CLP Regulation can be carried out for these in order to determine ecotoxicity, which makes it possible to evaluate behaviour in the environment. Furthermore, physical damage to the gastrointestinal tract as well as the displacement of food are not to be feared as there are no solids present.
For each water-soluble synthetic polymer, a separate risk assessment based on the ecotoxicity data, the degradation data and the exposure of the polymer manufacturer is therefore possible.
CONCLUSION: Microplasty in nail polish: No. But it is and remains a mixture of different substances that can be more or less unpleasant for humans and nature. Even if we still try as hard as we can to produce our paints with as few harmful substances as possible.