With Summer just ahead, we’re all working out, scheduling our spray tan appointments, and beginning our exfoliating routines. Everyone wants to look their best during bathing suit season. But did you know that you could be hurting our environment every time you take a shower? Let’s talk about those body scrubs and face washes with little scrubby beads in them. Yes, that’s right. I’m going to tell you the truth about microbeads.
The Truth About Microbeads in Skincare Products
What microbeads are
Microbeads are little plastic microspheres found in facial cleansers, body scrubs, exfoliates, and even toothpaste. They are great for personal care products, because they smooth beads don’t damage the skin the way that rough particles d0. However, they are increasingly terrible for our environment, mainly, our water- because they don’t break down.
Why they are so detrimental to us
When microbeads are washed down our drains, they aren’t large enough to get caught in water filtration systems. Instead, they’re flushed through to rivers and canals, causing plastic pollution in our water; particularly Lake Erie.
Did you know that The Great Lakes contain 21 percent of the world’s fresh water? Not only that, but if your distributed the lake’s water over the entire continent of North America, the water would be 5 feet deep. That’s insane! When you consider how much life, both animal and plants, depend on that water.
As if plastic pollution weren’t enough- those microbeads can absorb pollutants. This wouldn’t seem like a more of a problem since the microspheres are already polluting our waters, except that they look like fish eggs. Fish eggs look like food to other fish. So not only can marine life not digest the plastic, they’re also living with pollutants in their bodies which can ultimately kill them.
A press release from the Wildlife Conservation Society says “Microbeads are highly damaging to the natural environment and the wildlife that live there.” “Because natural alternatives already exist, a ban on their use in personal care products makes perfect sense.”
A second recent study states that there is 1.7 million microbeads per square kilometer at the bottom of Lake Erie. Scary.
What the government is doing about it
In December of 2015, President Obama signed a ban on microbeads after Congress passed the Microbead-Free Waters Act. Thanks, Obama!
What we can do about it
It’s actually pretty simple to be active for this cause. The cosmetics industry is busy phasing out microbeads- but you can help but dumping anything that contains them into the trash- and not using or purchasing them in the future! For more info check out Beat The Microbead!
If you are looking for a microbead free product to replace something you were using before- hit me up on the Poise and Purpose Facebook page, and I would be happy to point you in the right direction!