DJ, Drop that Bead
Chances are, you have skin. And no matter your gender, race, or side on the Backstreet Boys/N*Sync debate, you probably want your skin to feel relatively clean and healthy. After sorting though the barrage of options and figuring out whether you would rather exfoliate, scrub, or polish your skin to perfection, you may have unknowingly purchased something that could hurt Nemo, Flounder, and even Willy.
What do the above have in common? Ding! Ding! Microbeads. Microbeads are any solid plastic bubbles that are smaller than 1 millimeter. You can find them in face wash, body scrubs, and even toothpaste. The United States alone releases 8 trillion microbeads into the oceans, rivers, and lakes each day. That’s enough to cover over 300 tennis courts daily and only accounts for the 1% that make it through the sewage system. The rest of the beads go to landfills where rain could carry them to nearby bodies of water.
Once they reach the water, they don’t degrade (because they are made of plastic #science) and Mrs. Puff can mistake the little particles for food. Toxics that are diluted in the water stick to the microbeads and can reach harmful levels in Sebastian. And eventually if you eat Dory (or a fish that brunched Dory), that pollution can get stored in your fat cells. Also, because the water in the oceans doesn’t stay in one place, microbeads can travel the globe, creating problems worldwide.
Need some good news now? Well you are in luck! In the United States, President Obama signed a bipartisan bill into law on December 28th that prohibits selling and distributing microbead products. This agreement soared through Congress easily because of support from major cosmetics companies like Unilever and Johnson & Johnson, as well as grassroots efforts. Not to mention that 9 states had already banned microbeads. Additionally, the Netherlands, Germany, and Canada all have similar pledges in place.
So the next time you are thinking of doing this…
Consider Marlin, Mr. Krabs, and Shamu and opt for a Captain Planet approved face wash. Go, Planet!