Macro Problem with Microbeads in Your Cosmetics

Microbeads are those tiny polyethylene beads that you can find in the cosmetic products you use everyday. You know them: they adhere to your skin as you attempt to rinse your face wash off, or get stuck in between your teeth, even after you vigorously scrub away with your toothbrush.

Macro Problem with Microbeads in Your Cosmetics - Clapway

Even so, we purchase these products because they “make [us] feel reinvigorated as [we] scrape all the dead skin cells and dirt away!” However, what many people do not think about is how these microspheres might affect the environment: is it worth the pollution of the aquatic ecosystem as millions of these miniature plastic balls get flushed down the drain and end up in natural waters? Scientists certainly do not seem to think so, according to a study conducted at Oregon State University.

The Macro Problem With Microbeads

While a tiny microbead doesn’t seem like a big deal, eight trillion of them is enough to cover 300 tennis courts – and that number isn’t even close to the total count. The other 800 trillion microbeads end up in sewage plants. From there, they spread all over land and run off back into the waterways, according to a press release. In fact, most animals have unknowingly swallowed these little plastic beads at some point or another.

What can be done to combat the issue

Because microbeads have exfoliating properties, they are very widely used in a variety of cosmetic products that are currently sold. As such, companies can seek eco-friendly alternatives instead of cutting out the microbeads completely. One option is to use a biodegradable bead, although they do not necessarily have the ability to fully break down like one would expect.

Another precaution is to make sure that the beads are non-toxic. Unfortunately, this is not something that is mandated for companies, despite the fact that some people see this option as an obvious way to lessen the impact of the problem. The scientists behind the study are also hoping that a ban will soon be implemented for the sake of animals and the environment.