In a HUGE win for marine animals and humans alike, President Obama signed an official ban that prohibits the use of plastic microbeads in beauty products! Thanks to this monumental legislation, companies that manufacture shampoo, face wash, and body wash that contain microbeads will have to begin phasing out these tiny plastics with the goal of taking them completely out of their lines by July 2017. Additionally, all beauty products that contain microbeads will have to be taken out of circulation by July of 2018.
So you might be wondering why this is such fantastic news and why the gator above is so pleased with it – well, plain and simple: microbeads are the worst. These tiny microscopic plastic beads are typically used as exfoliating agents. Long story short, companies used to use natural products like crushed up walnuts or peach pits in exfoliating scrubs, but these high-powered scrubs could only be used once a week. Tiny plastic beads were developed to create a less abrasive scrub. The only problem is that unlike peach pits and walnuts, plastic never degrades or goes away…
A single squeeze of face wash can contain over 100,000 microbeads. Due to their small size, they easily wash through local water treatment facilities and end up in the oceans. Once in the oceans, they are easily ingested by marine life and either clog up their intestines or become absorbed into their tissues and continuously leach toxins into their bodies. Studies have found that 99 percent of seabirds have plastic particles in their stomachs, more than half of the world’s sea turtles have ingested plastic, and fish aren’t fairing much better.
But it isn’t just marine animals who are impacted by microbeads. All of the microbeads we wash down the sink eventually come back to us. It is estimated that people who eat shellfish consume more than 11,000 pieces of microplastics every year – how’s that for what goes around comes around?
The bottom line is that plastic microbeads provide us with a short-term convenience – that isn’t even necessary – but have a long-term negative impact. With this in mind, we cannot wait to bid our final adieus to these tiny plastics – for the sake of animals, and for ourselves as well!
Lead image source: Airwolfhound/Flickr