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Ban Plastic Microbeads

Ban Plastic Microbeads

Ban Plastic Microbeads

AwN | Humans never seem to stop inventing new things, and also never seem to consider the implications of the things they invent. Here we have microbeads, used commonly in personal hygiene products, including toothpaste where they are uncaringly washed away in the waste water. Microbeads are spreading very rapidly in the environment and causing major havoc on ecosystems. Eight trillion microbeads a day are being released into the waters around the globe and due to their small size they are permeating living creatures everywhere. 

Plastics in and of themselves are major problems in the environment. Many plastics if not all contain chemicals such as BPAs that have negative effects on living beings. Other plastics become traps for animals in various ways and torture them to death unless they happen to be found by a noble human. Plastic in general is a major problem (albeit extremely useful material) but microbeads are an equal or larger problem in and of themselves. If you wish to take action here is a good resource: Ban the Bead!

Plastic pervades our life and it can be nearly impossible to avoid. It is one of those every day ways we destroy the planet that leaves us feeling helpless and hopeless with regards to the planet and our ability to protect it. There are solutions though and while it takes effort to learn and discipline yourself it is rewarding to know you are making an effort for your planet. Consider the infographic from ecowatch listed below.

California Senate Passes Ban of Microbeads (if the governor signs microbeads will be banned by 2020...) Other states are still pursuing similar measures so it is high time to get on a soap box and demand an end to microbeads. It is suggested that while still legal consumers ensure their hygiene products in particular do not contain "poly..." aka plastics. 

Banning Microbeads Offers Simple Solution to Protect Our Oceans

Ecowatch | An outright ban on the common use of plastic “microbeads” from products that enter wastewater is the best way to protect water quality, wildlife and resources used by people, a group of conservation scientists suggest in a new analysis.

These  are one part of the microplastic problem in oceans, freshwater lakes and rivers, but are a special concern because in many products they are literally designed to be flushed down the drain. And even at conservative estimates, the collective total of microbeads being produced today is enormous.

In an article just published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, scientists from seven institutions say that nontoxic and biodegradable alternatives exist for microbeads, which are used in hundreds of products as abrasive scrubbers, ranging from face washes to toothpaste. Around the size of a grain of sand, they can provide a gritty texture to products where that is needed."

Read more at Ecowatch | Ecowatch 28-Day Plastic Challenge

NPR | Mason says her testing found, on average, 17,000 bits of tiny plastic items per square kilometer in Lake Michigan. The levels were much lower in Lake Huron and Lake Superior, but Lake Erie and Lake Ontario had much higher concentrations.

Lake Ontario's levels are highest, with counts of up to 1.1 million plastic particles per square kilometer. While microbeads in facial cleansers and body washes may be pretty good for removing dead skin cells, Mason says, there's a rub.

"They are about the same size as fish eggs, which means that, essentially, they look like food. To any organism that lives in the water, they are food," Mason says. "So our concern is that, essentially, they are making their way into the food web."

And if fish eat microbeads, which can soak up toxins like a sponge, scientists suggest that those chemicals could be passed on to humans and wildlife."

Read More at NPR

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