Microbeads Are Doing More Damage Than You Know

Most of us have a beauty/hygiene routine that we follow daily. We brush our teeth, wash our face, take showers – all things we do as just part of our day. The products we use might vary, but the majority of them now contain something called “microbeads”. A “Microbead” is a nice name for something that is… well, not very nice. Essentially, these “beads” are tiny bits of plastic, usually smaller than 2 millimeters, meant to give texture to things like toothpaste, soap, makeup, body and facial scrubs, and various other products.

In fact, these little beads are so tiny that they don’t do very much as far as exfoliating goes. They are smoother than natural alternatives so they aren’t as effective. What happens when you buy something that isn’t very effective? You end up using it every day and purchase inadequate products more often. However, natural exfoliants, like apricot shells, jojoba beans, and pumice work 100 times better and are better for YOU and the environment. There are ways to know if the products you are buying contain these harmful bits of plastic. First off, check the label. Anything with polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polymethyl methacrylate and nylon has synthetic compounds in it and is not only detrimental to our ecosystems, but to humans as well.

Microbeads are so small that they pass through waste water treatment integration and are not biodegradable.

Some people aren’t aware of the environmental ramifications from using microbeads. The plastic you are washing your face with could very well end up in your sushi. Fish eat the micro-plastic particles and the toxins absorbed into the different plastics are then transferred to the fish tissue. Story Of Stuff says,

“Plastic microbeads absorb persistent organic pollutants (long-lasting toxic chemicals like pesticides, flame retardants, motor oil and more) and other industrial chemicals that move up the food chain when the toxic-coated beads are consumed by fish and other marine organisms. A single microbead can be up to a million times more toxic than the water around it!”

In one year, California has an estimated 38 tons of plastic pollution from microbeads, and in New York the number is approximately 19 tons. With staggering statistics like this, something has to be done. Luckily, the message has been heard. Last year, Illinois was the first state to successfully ban microbeads. This was due to the elevated concern over the presence of microbead particles in the neighboring Great Lakes. On Friday (the 22nd of May), The California State Assembly will vote on a bill that would ban microbeads in products across the state. There are organizations who are proposing solutions to the microbead problem, like Californians Against Waste, Clean Water Action, 5 Gyres Institute, and Story of Stuff Project.

Image source
Written by Raven Fon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *