If you’re a lover of microbead face scrubs, you may want to reconsider.
Last fall, the Chemical and Engineering News Magazine published an article stating the microplastic beads from face cleansers and scrubs that get washed down the drain by thousands of users are now starting to appear in Great Lakes. The fact that the tiny 1mm beads are not soluble, which was something I was always curious about; is troublesome. I often wondered if the beads (and clay from face masks) would clog the drain but it never occurred to me what happened to it when it got down the drain. And I’m sure that you probably thought the same.
The concern is, because they are starting to appear in the Great Lakes, aquatic animals and fish may mistake them for food. Not only that, but there is a concern that the microbeads may aid in transferring toxic pollutants to fish that may end up on your dinner plate tonight. Scientists state that if small fish and zooplankton ingest the tiny beads it could clog their guts or interfere with the nutrient levels in their bodies. Or worse the beads can transfer toxins such as polychlorinated biphenyls (synthetic chlorine, mostly used as coolant fluids) , which when eaten will be transferred to the animal.
Earlier this month, The Chicago Tribune reported that the Illinois Governor, Pat Quinn, signed a legislation that would ban manufacture and sale of products that contained microbeads. The paper stated: “The new law bans the manufacture of personal care products containing microbeads by the end of 2017, the sale of personal care products and the manufacture of over the counter drugs by the end of 2018, and the sale of over the counter drugs by the end of 2019.”
Have no fear, some companies have pledged to start phasing out microbeads in their skincare products:
- Johnson & Johnson
- Procter & Gamble by 2017
- L’Oréal (owns The Body Shop)
- Unilever by 2015
Readers should note: If the product doesn’t say it’s a microbead scrub, besides looking at the contains in the bottle/tube you can identify them as the ingredients, polyethylene and polypropylene.
1. Chemical and Engineering News Magazine: Microplastic-Beads-Pollute-Great-Lakes.html