Should We Ban Microbead Beauty Products?

Plastic is a material that has changed the world. Everyday, plastic packaging machines produce raw materials and finished products that help keep our homes, businesses, schools and hospitals clean and safe, and that make our lives easier.

However, plastic can be a tough material to deal with once a useful product becomes waste. Often, plastic components that are little more than novelty can quickly exasperate this problem. The result is an environment that’s contaminated and crowded with unnatural substances.

Can You Control Where Your Garbage Goes?
Lots of us take care to balance our use of plastic with the amount of waste it creates by reducing our use and recycling products that we’re able, but what happens when plastic in some products is so small, there’s little hope for containing it and controlling its harmful effects? That’s just what has happened due to the plastic particles that have been featured in many health, beauty, and novelty products.

City Urges Residents To Avoid Microbeads

Tiny Plastic And Big Problems
You’ve likely seen them in face scrubs, hand soaps, and pocket sanitizers. They’re called microbeads, which are ultra tiny plastic balls suspended in personal cleansers and other care products. Sometimes they’re colored, other times they’re clear, but they are meant to create a textured exfoliating effect, and they give many ordinary liquids a more interesting appearance and feel. Their prevalence has amounted to a serious waste control and environmental pollution problem.

Easy To Miss, Impossible To Ignore
Since microbeads are so small, they easily pass through the water treatment process that’s meant to prevent harmful and polluting substances from getting into our waterways and other environments. Besides their size, microbeads are a problem because they’re usually made from plastic and do not dissolve or biodegrade. Instead, they simply amass and are often mistakenly ingested by fish and other wildlife, which reintroduces them and the chemicals that cling to their surface, into our human food supply.

Clogging Our Waterways
Because they’re so tiny, it’s easy to take for granted just how big of polluter microbeads have become. Recent reports have shown that Lake Ontario now contains 1.1 million plastic particles per square kilometer and some officials state that, in New York alone, up to nineteen tons of plastic microbeads wash down drains and pass into waterways every year.

Your Choice At The Checkout
Now some states are taking action to ban the use of microbeads by manufacturers. However, it’s still up to consumers to show their support through their choice at the checkout. If you enjoy the effect of microbead personal care products, consider using an exfoliating glove or textured washcloth to achieve the same effect without reintroducing more waste into the environment. You may also want to search for products that contain natural exfoliating aids, such as pumice, oatmeal, or sea salt—or even better, consider making your own facial scrubs at home.

oatmeal-mask-for-dry-skinjpg - Digital Vision for Getty Images

Did you know that microbead facial cleansers and other products are becoming such a polluting issue? Now that you know, will your adjust your purchasing habits?

Article Sources:
http://beauty.about.com
http://www.iflscience.com
http://www.traverseticker.com

James Spader
 

Comes from a long line of American manufacturers and small business owners. His passions have always been journalism and World War II history. When not working, he enjoys cooking and competing in amateur chess tournaments.

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Elisabeth

The Earth’s natural resources are clearly being depleted on a massive scale to meet the needs of our growing world population. We see the effects of this in all areas of our air, water, and earth. Consumption of paper products is driving the rapid deforestation of our forests, often resulting in damage to the land preventing new replacement growth. I think the movement toward eco friendly packaging is therefore important.

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