The Dirty Truth About Microbeads
Before I got started on a more eco-friendly lifestyle, I had no idea what a microbead was and how badly they are harming our environment.
Microbeads are insanely small pieces of plastic you find in personal care products (toothpaste, fash wash, body scrubs). They are too small to filter so they get washed down our drains and into our water systems. Finding their way into our oceans, marine life can eat them and they can eventually find their way back to us on our plates. A study done by the State University of New York found between 1,500 to 1.1 million microbeads per square mile on the surface of the Great Lakes. One bottle of face wash can contain more than 330, 000 microbeads. In the US alone, 8 billion of these little plastics are released every day.
Countries that have a microbead ban:
- United States
- New Zealand
As of July 1st, 2018 Canada's ban on selling shower gels, toothpaste and facial scrubs containing microbeads will be in effect. Products such as natural health products and non-prescription drugs will take effect in 2019.
These toxic little materials absorb organic pollutants such as pesticides, flame retardants, motor oil, etc. Fish eat these microbeads and then are fed to us (if you eat fish of course!). A study in California found that 1/4 of all fish sold had microplastics and fibres in their systems.
As countries all around the world are taking action against this toxic substance, you can help by checking the ingredients before you buy. If you see polyethylene, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate or polymethyl methacrylate it contains microbeads. You can also download the Beat the Microbead app and check products before you purchase if you are unsure.
If you currently have products at home that contain microbeads, throw them in the garbage instead of washing them down the drain!
This has been a major step in the right direction to help our environment and I believe that things will continue to go up from here!