Both eyeliner and mascara production and usage pose environmental risks. Eyeliner, mascara, and some other cosmetics contain nanoparticles that are highly dangerous to the environment. The nanoparticles in nature can bind onto other organic materials, greatly increasing their toxicity. Nanoparticles are made of silver, copper oxide, and zinc oxide, which are very harmful to fish and aquatic life. Nanoparticles take effect very quickly; in around an hour scientists found significant changes in micro-organisms in the ocean and lakes.
The Environmental Dangers
The Health Risks
The health risks associated with mascara and eyeliner are very limited. While most do not cause many health problems, they can cause discomfort in various forms. For example, certain mascaras contain toxic metals such as mercury, which is harmful to the body and can cause allergic reactions, skin irritation, and neurotoxicity problems. Bronopol, which is found in most mascaras, is a major skin irritant that can cause blindness and is especially harmful in large amounts. Others mascaras have the potential to cause cancer, infertility, and harm the immune system because of the chemicals used to make them. Besides these more serious problems, mascara can also harm contacts and cause irritation in or around the eye. The health effects associated with mascara are similar to that of eyeliner. Eyeliner can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation, and can harm contacts. Therefore, this further emphasizes the importance of reading the chemicals in makeup before purchasing.
Besides these nanoparticles, the most harmful part of mascara and eyeliner is the packaging. The plastic is usually thrown away and ends up in the ocean and landfills. In landfills, it takes thousands of years to break down. In the ocean, plastic breaks down into small pieces called nurdles, which look like sand or small fish. Filter feeders and other marine animals often consume nurdles when they mistake them for food, killing thousands of animals each year. Instead of using this mascara and eyeliner that damages the earth and nature, look for organic and eco-friendly products that advertise toxin-free formulas.