Grace Silica Gels Provide an Alternative to Microplastic Exfoliating Agents for Personal Care Industry

COLUMBIA, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The personal care industry has responded to consumer demand by producing
an ever-increasing array of exfoliating skin products. Just as quickly,
the industry is reacting to environmental concerns about polymer
microbeads and other microplastics used as abrasive agents. Now W. R.
Grace & Co. (NYSE: GRA) is offering an alternative with silica, a
product it has been innovating in a variety of consumer applications for
more than 50 years.

Grace exfoliating silica gels do not bioaccumulate, are not
biopersistent, and can be engineered to provide exceptional exfoliating
properties, as well as other multi-functional benefits to personal care
product formulations. This is a highly pure and chemically synthesized
form of a naturally occurring mineral commonly found in the earth’s
crust. Grace specially engineered materials have been used for years in
oral care, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and food.

“Grace forms strong collaborative relationships with customers to tailor
our products to meet their unique and specific needs,” said John Hall,
Global Business Director Silica Gel at Grace Materials Technologies. “We
have the benefit of experience and success in the personal care industry
for helping our customers develop safe, effective, and cost-efficient
solutions for some of the leading consumer brands in the marketplace.”

While personal care products are intended to be washed down the drain
after use, microplastic beads float on the surface of water, and are
difficult to remove from wastewater at typical treatment facilities.
This concern has been raised by environmental groups and state
legislatures, resulting in calls for product reformulation and
alternatives. Grace silica gel products are viable alternatives that are
removed as part of routine operations at typical wastewater treatment

Grace silica gels can provide superior particle integrity for efficient
exfoliating. The product is an odorless, tasteless, and chemically inert
synthetic micronized silica that is invisible in many liquids, suitable
for clear gel formulations, and will not affect the color of powdered
products. More information can be found at

Hall said, “As a company with manufacturing capabilities and
applications labs around the world, Grace is able to meet the needs of
any customer and help them expand their product line and business
opportunities in a manner that matches the environmental sensitivities
of global consumers.”

Grace Materials Technologies is the worldwide leader in specialty silica
gel, which is used in consumer products as diverse as toothpaste,
cosmetics, tires, beer, and pharmaceuticals. The business segment also
develops and manufactures engineered materials, coatings, and sealants
used in consumer, industrial, and packaging products, and fine chemicals
for pharmaceutical and other applications.

About Grace

Built on talent, technology, and trust, Grace is a leading global
supplier of catalysts; engineered and packaging materials; and specialty
construction chemicals and building materials. The company’s three
industry-leading business segments—Grace Catalysts Technologies, Grace
Materials Technologies, and Grace Construction Products—provide
innovative products, technologies, and services that improve the
products and processes of customer partners in over 155 countries around
the world. Grace’s 2014 net sales were $3.2 billion. More information
about Grace is available at


W. R. Grace & Co.
Media Relations
Rich Badmington,
+1 410-531-4370
Ten Eyck, +1 410-531-4460