Bismuth and Silver in Cosmetic Products: A Source of Environmental and Resource Concern?

8 Pages Posted: 29 Feb 2016

See all articles by Jennie Amneklev

Jennie Amneklev

Linnaeus University - Department of Biology and Environmental Science

Anna Augustsson

Linnaeus University - Department of Biology and Environmental Science

Louise Sörme

Statistics Sweden

Bo Bergbäck

Linnaeus University - Department of Biology and Environmental Science

Date Written: February 2016

Abstract

Bismuth (Bi) and silver (Ag) are used in increasing amounts and are consequently being emitted from various sources and showing high accumulation rates in soils when sewage sludge is applied on arable land. This study aimed to analyze the amounts of Bi and Ag in three cosmetic products (foundation, powder, and eye shadow) in order to study the flows in urban wastewater in Stockholm, Sweden. Analyses showed that Bi was present in very high concentrations (7,000 to 360,000 milligrams per kilogram) in one third of the analyzed foundation and powder samples, whereas Ag concentrations all were below the detection limit. These cosmetic products explained approximately 24% of the measured total Bi amounts per year reaching the WWTP (wastewater treatment plant), making cosmetics a major Bi source, whereas for Ag the corresponding contribution was <0.1% of the measured annual Ag amounts. The results were roughly adapted for Europe and the United States, estimating the Bi flows from cosmetics to WWTPs. On a global scale, these flows correspond to a non‐negligible part of the world Bi production that, every year, ends up in sewage sludge, limiting the reuse of a valuable metal resource. From an environmental and resource perspective, foundations and powder products should be considered as significant sources of measured Bi amounts in sludge. This large Bi flow must be considered as unsustainable. For Ag, however, the three analyzed cosmetic products are not a significant source of the total Ag load to WWTPs.

Keywords: bismuth, cosmetics, industrial ecology, sewage sludge, silver, substance flow analysis

Suggested Citation

Amneklev, Jennie and Augustsson, Anna and Sörme, Louise and Bergbäck, Bo, Bismuth and Silver in Cosmetic Products: A Source of Environmental and Resource Concern? (February 2016). Journal of Industrial Ecology, Vol. 20, Issue 1, pp. 99-106, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2738903 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12251

Jennie Amneklev (Contact Author)

Linnaeus University - Department of Biology and Environmental Science ( email )

Kalmar
Sweden

Anna Augustsson

Linnaeus University - Department of Biology and Environmental Science

Kalmar
Sweden

Louise Sörme

Statistics Sweden

Karlavägen 100
Stockholm
Sweden

Bo Bergbäck

Linnaeus University - Department of Biology and Environmental Science

Kalmar
Sweden

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