In 2016, the US government is making a move to protect our environment from microbeads, which are known to cause significant problems in nature, especially in lakes and oceans. The past year we have seen countless images of the Chinese smog, water pollution in the oceans, and the haze in Indonesia. Now the US government is planning to ban all personal care products that include microbeads. A bill has already been approved by the House of Representatives that will phase out these environmentally damaging products. Known as the Microbead-Free Waters Act, it will start to ban the use of tiny pieces of plastic that are widely used to make personal care products like body wash, detergents, creams, lotions, soap, and toothpaste.
Why Are Microbeads Bad for the Environment?
Once microbeads are released into the waterways they cause an enormous amount of damage to sea life because they are easily mistaken as fish food. Once consumed by fish, these microbeads end up in the food chain and are then eaten by humans. Do you want to be eating plastic microbeads with your fish? …didn’t think so.
Studies Show Serious Side-effects
Awareness of these microbeads was made in 2013 after a study from the State University of New York revealed that the Great Lakes were packed with these microbead products. A sampling of the water from the Great Lakes has shown that Lake Ontario contains an estimated 1.1 million plastic particles per square kilometer.
In 2014, the State of Illinois was the first to ban personal care products containing microbeads. Other states that are considering such legislation include Ohio, which has an extensive shoreline from waters of Lake Erie, and Michigan. California, which is always proactive in such matters, has just finalized a bill to phase out microbeads by the end of 2020.
In a study from Oregon State University, researchers discovered that close to 8 tons of microbeads were regularly disposed of every day in the US waters alone. This plastic compound further adds to the already vast quantities of plastic debris floating through the world’s oceans. A recent study showed that almost 9 out of 10 birds sampled plastic in their intestine.
Over the years, the Great Lakes have seen severe pollution, oil spills, discharge from factories, and accidental sewage contamination, but it is feared that microbeads are the worst polluters, chiefly because they take forever to degrade, are hard to filter from the water, and fish think they’re food. In addition, microbeads are bad for your skin, face, and hair.
Reader – Do you currently have microbead products in your house? Will you be throwing them out after reading this?