So, you have been washing your face with an exfoliating scrubber for quite a while? The fact is while you are enjoying those tiny powdered exfoliators for the feel good feel they give; everywhere else researchers and skin care experts are urging to ban those microbeads or exfoliators across the world.
What are Microbeads?
Microbeads are tiny plastic beads which are now used in high amount in personal skin care products. When you brush your teeth with some mint-based toothpaste, you are actually brushing microbeads along with it. These are minute pieces of plastic which you find in face washes, cleansers, scrubbers and a lot more. They are majorly polythene, but are also made up of other petrochemical plastics like polypropylene or polystyrene. They are usually smaller than 5 mm in size. Lip gloss, nail polish etc have all those glitters, thanks to the microbeads.
Why are they harmful?
But these small, apparently harmless microbeads are equally detrimental for the ecology as well as our health. While manufacturing those microbeads, billions of waste products go down into the lakes and other water bodies and intoxicate them. A recent study has stated that about 8 million tonnes of plastic materials are disposed in the ocean every year. North America’s Great Lakes in 2012 did a landmark study on these microbeads and discovered minute polymer pieces everywhere. These toxic wastes are eaten up by the fish and other marine life and unknowingly we end up eating those contaminated marine foods on our dinner plates. Unfortunately, these microbeads are so small; they cannot be filtered by our sewage system.
Due to their harmful effects on our environment, major campaigns are being launched everywhere to ban them. Already the US and the Canadian Government have banned them. Major beauty brands like the Bodyshop, L’Oreal or the Avon have almost stopped using them in their products at a considerable amount. A number of NGOs have launched their own drive in association with a number of reputed cosmetic lines to completely stop using microbeads in their products. They are urging everyone to go for alternative natural remedies like sugar or kernels. UK govt is going to ban it ban microbeads from cosmetics by end of 2017.