Microplastic content of over-the-counter toothpastes - a systematic review

Kavery Chengappa S, Ashwini Rao, Aparna K S, Praveen S. Jodalli, Ramya Shenoy Kudpi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Microplastic particles are used as ingredients in personal care products such as face washes, shower gels and toothpastes and form one of the main sources of microplastic pollution, especially in the marine environment. In addition to being a potential pollutant to the environment, the transfer of microplastics to humans can become a severe threat to public health. This systematic review was conceptualized to identify evidence for the presence of and characteristics of microplastics in toothpaste formulations. Methods: The PICOS Criteria was used for including studies for the review. Electronic databases of Scopus, Embase, Springer Link, PubMed, Web of Science and Google Scholar were searched, as well as hand and reference searching of the articles was carried out. The articles were screened using the software application, Covidence® and data was extracted. Results: This systematic review showed that toothpastes from China, Vietnam, Myanmar and the UAE, reported no evidence of microplastics and those from Malaysia, Turkey and India reported the presence of microplastics. The shape of the microplastics present in these toothpastes were found to be granular, irregular with opaque appearance and also in the form of fragments and fibers and the percentage weight in grams ranged from 0.2 to 7.24%. Malaysia releases 0.199 trillion microbeads annually from personal care products into the environment and toothpastes in Turkey release an average of 871 million grams of microplastics annually. Similarly, in India, it has been reported that 1.4 billion grams of microplastic particles are emitted annually from toothpaste. Conclusions: The findings of this systematic review provide evidence that toothpastes, at least in some parts of the world, do contain microplastics and that there is a great risk of increase in the addition of microplastics to the environment by the use of toothpaste.

Original languageEnglish
Article number390
Publication statusPublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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