Microbeads seem to be in everything- face wash, makeup and soaps, but did you know they are also clogging our waterways? The teeny tiny bits of plastic appear in many of our personal hygiene products, but they end up getting flushed down our drains into our water system. Because they are smaller than a grain of sand, they glide right through local water treatment plants, ending up in lakes, rivers and oceans by the billions.
Many companies use plastic microbeads as a filler in personal hygiene products, using the tiny spheres to help exfoliate skin, as plastic is cheaper than natural exfoliants. Plastic microbeads are also more gentle than natural alternatives, which means people can use products more often, driving up sales through daily usage.
Aside from clogging out waters, the plastic microbeads act as tiny sponges, sucking up toxins along their way. The heavily polluted beads then travel through the waterways, spreading toxins to water supplies, or get gobbled up my fish and marine life. The toxins encased in the plastic beads can then be transferred to us, if we eat the fish who have accidentally eaten the beads in their environment. Lastly, plastic microbeads are nearly impossible to clean from our waters, as they are too small to collect or filter.
Although many companies are already choosing to resist using microbeads in their products, many still choose plastic as a cheaper alternative. If a nationwide ban on plastic microbeads were developed, our waters and bodies could be safeguarded from the serious damage these tiny bits could incur.