What are Microbeads?
They are tiny pieces of plastic usually referred to as polyethylene or polypropylene on the ingredients list.
What are they used for?
They act as an exfoliation agent in facial and body scrubs and are used in some tooth pastes and cleaning products.
Why are they causing a problem?
The tiny pieces of plastic are able to bypass water filtration systems as they are so small so end up in rivers, lakes and oceans. Because they can look like plankton/eggs, fish and other animals are consuming these objects thinking they are food. There are over 300,000 plastic microbeads (equivalent to a tablespoon’s worth) in each tube of face scrub.
So which brands are the culprits?
Clean & Clear, Neutrogena, L’oreal, The Body Shop, and Johnson & Johnson to name a few.
What are the alternatives?
There are tons of natural exfoliators that are already used in products such as sugar, salt, seeds, nut shells and husks. There is no need to use plastics for exfoliation!
I personally have always gone for natural exfoliators because it doesn’t make sense to use plastic to wash your face. As we know there are already an abundance of chemicals swirling around in our water supply and these little beads of plastic just add to an already huge problem. Unilever along with other brands have already committed to stopping the use of plastic microbeads in their personal care products by 2015. The Plastic Soup Foundation of Europe is trying to get other personal care product manufacturers large and small to follow suit.
You can read more information about the campaign on the link below and the sign petition asking these companies to ban the use of microbeads!