Written By Jasmine
I’ve got this nice line of body wash I use with lovely exotic scents, exfoliating and moisturizing properties. I knew they contained tiny round “micro-beads”. I figured this is where the exfoliating properties are. I honestly had given thought to these beads and reasoned they must dissolve when mixed with heated water. Great…how could my personal choice of body wash I choose to indulge in possibly affect anyone or anything else?
I have recently been hearing in the news that these “innocent” plastic micro-beads ingredients are affecting marine life in a very bad way. My assumption that they dissolve in water were dashed with this new knowledge. Fish and smaller organisms are surrounded by food available in their own food chain but they are attracted to these tiny beads as a food source. The damage continues up the food chain and is magnified by the compounds they have absorbed. Fish, mollusks, turtles and birds think they have eaten food instead of the plastic with no nutrition and it clogs up their digestive system. A disturbing fact they discovered is the marine life can lose their appetite for what they should be eating.
Scientists first discovered this by studying the Great Lakes in 2012 for plastic pollution on a larger size scale. They found over half a million perfectly formed multi colored micro-beads per square kilometer in Lake Erie alone. It took time for them to discover these tiny plastic micro-beads because they don’t float to the top like larger plastic like water bottles. It was a massive discovery by volume. They also discovered the micro-beads are small enough to pass through wastewater treatment facilities and pass through into lakes, rivers and oceans.
These plastic micro-beads are also found in facial cleansers, soaps, sunscreens and even toothpaste.
I got to thinking about how on Facebook I see many postings of the “good old days…if you remember doing this or that or not caring about certain things then “like” this posting.” It was also a time where we did not think so much of what exactly was in our food, body products, washing soaps etc. Why would business/corporations put anything in anything that could possibly be hazardous to animals, humans or the environment? The truth be told it was a time when huge corporations were doing just that and we gobbled them up with our hard earned cash! Slap a “New & Improved” on it and it had to be true with no question as to what was added to make it so.
They still are but the difference is we know the list of chemicals, additives and colors are dangerous to our health and the runoff affects nature in its many forms. There is a growing trend today for these companies to answer to this dilemma and slowly they are beginning to respond by taking things out that don’t need to be there in the name of shortcuts to make the big buck $’s. The only reason they are doing so is because they have been found out!
Up to this point The Body Shop, L ‘Oreal, and Johnson & Johnson have agreed to discontinue the use of the micro-beads.
In many ways I am still “old school”. The difference is…it’s time to take responsibility for myself and the effect these products are having on our environment.
“What is the answer to this huge problem?” I have asked myself. We can choose to remain ignorant in the name of convenience, accustomed taste, economy, etc. Or we can begin as a collective to refuse to buy their products that should be unacceptable. Our children need to be educated as well about the harmful effects of chemicals and additives are to our bodies and the world we live in so their own won’t be faced with the same problems.
From now on I won’t be buying these products with plastic micro-beads and I am eliminating one less contribution to the pollution of our planet!