PSA on Plastic Microbeads (polyethylene microspheres)

May 03, 2015 2 min read

I went to the store last week to purchase some face wash. There was a particular brand I was interested in purchasing, one that was advertised to be perfect for me. This face wash had some little scrubby’s that are reportedly miraculous. While I was there I also looked at toothpaste that contained some scrubby’s in it to make my teeth shine bright.

Image Credit: 5 Gyres

When I got home, I started to read about the products I just looked at in the store. The scrubby’s in them weren’t a new, natural substance with extraordinary cleaning power, they were plastic. More to the point, the products contained plastic micro-beads. Ewww. Why would I put microbeads in my mouth or on my skin??

Not only are the microbeads causing dental problems because they get caught under the gums, the microbeads are so tiny that they aren’t filtered out of water treatment plants. They float on top of the wastewater and end up in our oceans and lakes.  T.J. Pignataro, a reporter for the Buffalo News, reported that the Great Lakes System is overwhelmed with micro plastic beads. Along with the concern for the presence of the microbeads in the plants and creatures in the water, there is also a concern for the chemicals used to make the plastic. Since the chemicals used to make the plastic pliable are not stable in the plastic, the chemicals can move from the plastic and into the water, or our bodies. One such chemical is BPA, which mimics hormones and cause reproductive problems in men and cancer in women.

Daniel Palmer, of the Saanich News, reported that the plankton in the oceans are dying off because of the microbeads they consume. The concern of the dying plankton is that they feed the other sea life, which ultimately feed the orca whales. Those tiny “scrubby” micro beads have the potential to cause the end of life in the ocean, and on the planet.

The wave of banning micro beads in products is spreading. Not only are the governments around the Great Lakes working on bans, but other states, and even other countries, including Canada, are moving toward total bans on microbeads.

I’m so glad I took some time to research the products and I am now on my way to research heathy alternatives that are plastic-free.

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