Lately, microbeads have been doing the rounds in my news feed. A more palatable name for polyethylene or polypropylene, these little nubs are a common ingredient in many face/ body scrubs, toothpaste and exfoliants. Essentially a plastic (and the same that is used to make a lot of takeaway and supermarket containers), these microbeads are so small that they don’t get picked up by filtering systems when sewerage is treated.
The result? The microbeads end up in our water systems and are consumed by fish and other animals. If this isn’t alarming you enough, consider that you are fairly high up the food chain and there is every likelihood that you may be consuming toxic plastic too.
Naturally, a ban on polyethylene and polypropylene has been called for globally and some big brands are succumbing. Here in Australia, the three largest supermarket chains have banned products containing microbeads, albeit in a phased approach. It would be great if the darned things were just taken off the shelves at once (but that would mean a lot of $$$ lost so I guess it’s not in the manufacturers’ interests to do this).
Meanwhile, I have already binned two face washes that, to my horror, contained polyethylene. It’s unnerving that we can so easily make purchases without consciously making an effort to know what’s in them. Take for example, the Neutrogena Pore Refining exfoliating cleanser (Alpha and Beta hydroxy formula with gentle microbeads). I loved this stuff until I realised that the ‘gentle microbeads’ I have been rubbing on my face are tiny bits of plastic no different to the one my yoghurt comes in. That’s the third product I have found this year with the nasty stuff.
It’s upsetting to have to throw out a product, particularly if you like it. But it’s a no brainer. Or is it ? I don’t know if my mind rests any easier. I mean, they will end up in a landfill which is only very marginally better.
Really, when will we get that we can’t throw things away, there is no A W A Y?
What do you think of microbeads?
Has the recent media coverage changed your beauty regime?
Vote below and comment.