The Truth About Microbeads September 27 2015
Ever wonder what those colourful little beads in your face scrub and body wash are? There's been a lot of media about microbeads and #banthebead has been trending throughout North America - but how can these tiny little specs be such a bad thing?
Microbeads are minuscule polymer beads that are commonly used in your everyday products such as toothpaste, makeup, soaps and those fancy looking facial scrubs. These microbeads are only 0.1 micrometres and 5 mm in diameter, [i] but don’t let its miniature size mislead you! Over time these tiny beads have caused harm to our health, animal well-being and to our ecosystem at large. For a good look at their effects, check out the video at the end of this blog.
Microbeads may seem like a safe product with a small threat, but…
Did you know?
There is an estimated
5.5 TRILLION pieces of
plastic in the ocean;
92% of which is microplastics?
Looking at the bigger picture we've learned how detrimental microbeads are in our interconnected ecosystem.
The issue is that microbeads are so tiny that they don’t get filtered out in the water treatment plants. This causes problems because these beads are made of a synthetic material that doesn’t dissolve in water, meaning they flow into our lakes, rivers and oceans. The tiny beads accumulate over time in large numbers and sit at the floor of our waterbeds. The plastic pollution from these microbeads is so severe that animals have started evolving to adapt to the new toxic conditions.[i]
Microbeads can even affect our health; fish often confuse the beads for food and end up ingesting them and absorbing the plastics toxins. Since the ecosystem is interconnected, the very same fish can inevitably end up on our dinner plates!
Comic by firstname.lastname@example.org
Thankfully there is hope! According to an article in the Toronto Star, the Canadian government is in the process of banning products that use microbeads by adding it to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act’s list of toxic substances. They are also dedicated to developing regulations on manufacturing and importing items containing microbeads.[i] These initiatives are vital to keeping the environment in good condition and would allow our ecosystem to start healing itself.
In the mean time, it's important to look at the products that we use on a daily basis and be aware of the environmental impacts of them. Using products with natural ingredients that are still exfoliating, such as coffee, sugar and salt are effective cleansers for your skin, providing some great scrubbing action. Scrub Inspired’s facial and body scrubs are created with the most natural and environmentally conscious ingredients that are biodegradable or fully dissolve in water causing no negative environmental impact! So you can scrub away without the worry of leaving a footprint on Mother Nature. ;)
Beat the Microbead lists all the different ingredients to avoid when buying products:
- Polyethylene terephthalate
- Polymethyl methacrylate
[i] Hong, Jackie. Toronto Star. July 31 2015. Canadian government moves to ban microbeads