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If you use an exfoliating product then you like have used a product with microbeads in it. They are part of most face and body scrubs and are actually present in over 100 products on the market today. So what are microbeads?
What are microbeads?
Microbeads are tiny balls of plastic which are less than 1 millimetre at their largest. Typically they are made from polyethylene but can actually be made from other plastics.
What are microbeads used for?
Microbeads have made their way into many products on the market and are generally used for exfoliating the skin. The small beads are added into washing gel products and rubbed gently into the skin to remove dead skin and dirt particles. The use of the small beads really gets deep into the skin which is why their use was not questioned for a long time.
Are microbeads safe?
The short answer is no. While the microbeads do not harm to us as humans they are causing pollution of our seas. The small beads, once washed off your skin, are flushed through the water systems until they reach open water where animals live. It is estimated that 808 trillion microbeads were going down drains in the United States EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Although wastewater is treated and a huge amount of the microbeads are removed from it, it is estimated that in the region of 8 trillion beads make it through and move on to pollute the waters of the planet. It is not only the seas which are affected, these beads are being found in lakes and freshwater reserves too. The problem is huge.
Why is that dangerous?
Well, small water-based animals know no better and are eating up these microbeads and becoming sick. It is not uncommon that birds are found starved to death will a stomach full of small bits of plastic. The full feeling in their stomach prevented them from eating and in the end, they die because they have not eaten enough.
How does it affect us?
If you are not someone who cares too much about animals or the state of the waters then think of it this way. The small fish are eating the microbeads. These fish are eaten by bigger fish, who are eaten by bigger fish and so on. We then go to the supermarket and buy fish for the dinner that night and guess what. We ingest small bits of plastic that are lodged into the fish we buy to eat.
It is worth mentioning that these microbeads are also absorbing the pollution they meet on their journey to your plate, making that also part of your delicious fish dinner. Besides the pollution would you eat plastic anyway? No. There are harmful chemicals in it and it would be a nightmare for your body to digest.
So what do we do?
Luckily a ban on microbeads came into place on July 2017 in the United Kingdom. However, there are still products on the market in many countries which contain microbeads. My best advice is to avoid them. If you already own some and you do not want to bin them then try removing the scrub with baby wipes or something else that you can bin, rather than washing them down the drain.
You might find a lag between the ban and new products coming on to the market that are safe, but there is one out there that meets regulations and is friendly to the environment which you can buy online today. The Forever Aloe Scrub contains only microspheres of jojoba oil which completely break down and cause no harm to the environment. Click here to check it out or buy.
How do I know if my product contains microbeads?
You can read the ingredients if it is not totally clear on the front of the bottle. If either polyethylene or polypropylene is listed then you can be quite confident that your product has harmful microbeads in it.