Do you like the idea of scrubbing your face with teeny tiny bits of plastic? Or getting a mouthful of minuscule polyethylene beads along with every bite of your spicy California roll? If you answered no to one or both of these, you should know there’s a hidden villain lurking in your midst. Yes, microbeads, we’re talking about you. NPR reports that “these tiny bits of plastic, small scrubbing components used in hundreds of personal care products like skin exfoliants and soap, can slip through most water treatment systems when they wash down the drain.” In other words, these nearly microscopic “scrubbing agents” aren’t filtered out of our water, which means that they make their way into rivers, lakes, and eventually, oceans. Not only do they contaminate these bodies of water, absorbing toxins and chemicals along the way, but they are also consumed by small fish who mistake them for fish eggs. These fish, in turn, are consumed by bigger fish, who are then consumed by us.
Lots of products contain these vicious villains, from facial scrubs to some toothpastes, described in the ingredients list as “polyethylene” or just straight up microbeads, they’re not hard to spot once their cover is blown. And on top of destroying the environment, they also suck at their job. Natural scrubbing agents, like walnut shells, coffee grounds, and sugar are far more effective. Since these microbeads don’t work so well, you tend to use the product more, which means that in the long run, you’re buying more.
The good news? There’s tons of all-natural scrubbing agents out there for your exfoliating pleasure. And while marine pollution isn’t going to be solved in a day, some large comerical body care companies have pledged to phase out their use of microbeads. In the mean time, check out one of our all-natural organic cane sugar scrubs. They’re non-toxic, healthy, clean and perfect for you and the environment.
(Peep these articles if you want to learn more about the war against microbeads.)