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Have you noticed that your facial scrub, toothpaste, or body wash has tiny colored beads in it? Those are microbeads, and they are made from polyethylene and polypropylene. A few years ago, companies added them to your favorite product instead of natural exfoliants. Trillions of these beads are going directly into our waters and causing havoc for marine life.
A coalition of nonprofits fought hard for a U.S. ban on microbeads that will take place in 2018. But what about the two years of microbeads still going down your drain? What about the billions of microbeads being used internationally? The good news is, you can make a difference.
While you can choose to recycle some forms of plastic, you can’t choose where those microbeads go. They go down your drain, through public sewer systems, and often end up in rivers, lakes, and waterways. Some sewage sludge gets used as fertilizer, and those beads seep into soil. More than 663 species of marine wildlife are affected by plastic pollution through ingestion or entanglement. Microplastic particles in water attract other pollutants in the environment, including PCBs, flame retardants, and other industrial chemicals. These microplastic particles are ending up back on the dinner table.
Microbeads are only one form of plastic in our waters but an easy one to prevent.
Take a pledge to buy only facial scrubs that are microbead-free, by clicking here.
Copyright 2016 5 Gyres. Included in Vox Populi on a non-commercial license.