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Tiny Plastic Beads In Bath Products Are Polluting The Great Lakes

Great Lakes

Bath and beauty products are made with some really bizarre ingredients. Do we really need tiny plastic beads to exfoliate our face and body? The answer is definitely no, especially since it’s come to light that these little plastic beads are polluting the Great Lakes and posing a health hazard to fish and wildlife.

From Scientific American:

Cosmetics manufacturers use these micro beads, or micro exfoliates, as abrasives in facial and body scrubs. They are too tiny for water treatment plants to filter, so they wash down the drain and into the Great Lakes. The biggest worry: fish such as yellow perch or turtles and seagulls think of them as dinner. If fish or birds eat the inert beads, the material can deprive them of nutrients from real food or get lodged in their stomachs or intestines, blocking digestive systems.

Not only is this an extreme danger to fish, but when they consume these plastic pieces it increases the chance of it entering our food supply, which poses a health risk to humans as well. What goes around really does come around.

The good news is that Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and The Body Shop will be phasing out these tiny beads from their products by 2015, according to 5 Gyres. Proctor & Gamble will be phasing them out as well, but not until 2017. If you are interested in signing a petition to urge them to do it sooner, check out the 5 Gyres site. You can also find what people are saying about it by checking out the #beatthebead hashtag on Twitter.

It really does make sense for these companies to ditch the plastic and use natural ingredients such as cocoa beans, apricot shells, sugar, or salt. I have been making my own beauty products and body scrubs for years, and you can find a few of my favorite recipes on my personal blog. I know these tiny plastic beads feel wonderful on your skin, but nothing beats sugar, coconut oil, and an all-natural soap. The best part of making your own is the price; it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a small bottle of exfoliant from The Body Shop.

What kind of exfoliating products do you use? Do you make your own, or is there an awesome all-natural brand you’ve found?

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: The Great Lakes.
via Treehugger

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