Plastic pollution as a global problem
From sterile packaging and product samples to liquid plastics in prescribed preparations – we can hardly imagine dermatological practice without plastics or microplastics. Yet the pollution of our planet with plastic has long been an omnipotent crisis and, according to the WHO, represents one of the toughest challenges of our time. Tiny plastic particles with extremely varied chemical compositions – microplastics and liquid polymers – can never be removed from the environment once they have entered it; they have been shown to accumulate significantly everywhere on land, in water and in organisms and land on our plates via the food chain.
Consequences for health and climate
Thus far, it has not been possible to estimate potential toxic interactions arising from these substances. There are still very few studies on the consequences of environmental pollution from plastic. However, there is mounting evidence that considerable hazards to health could originate from some ingredients in topical preparations. In particular in dermatological clinics and practices, local therapies are regularly recommended or prescribed that contain substances potentially harmful to health. In addition, global plastics production is responsible for a significant part of greenhouse gas emissions.. Global environmental pollution from plastic can be reduced only by placing every area of society under scrutiny.
The Working Group Sustainability in Dermatology (AGN) e.V. would therefore like to make its contribution to environmental protection by pooling the numerous fragmented bits of information on harmful ingredients in topical preparations, discussing options for plastic and packaging reduction, and in the future developing and circulating additional low-plastic alternatives for everyday life in clinics and practices.
Working together with disseminators
Well-informed doctors in their role as disseminators can, by avoiding the use of topical preparations containing microplastics and implementing resource-friendly measures, make an important contribution to educating the populace, and thereby to protecting the environment and maintaining the health of every individual.
The Working Group Sustainability in Dermatology (AGN) e.V. supports specific measures for significantly reducing micro- and macroplastics in dermatological clinics and practices. Consequently, information, news and links on the topic are regularly made available online on this website.
The Dutch artist Maria Koijck in the midst of the waste from her surgery after battling breast cancer.
By courtesy of: Maria Koijck