Have you ever bought a product with microbeads? If you answered no, there’s a good chance that you did without knowing it. The little bits of plastic are used in thousands of beauty products to create a scrubbing sensation, including face wash, body wash, and even toothpaste! If you didn’t cringe from the thought of scrubbing your teeth and gums with tiny abrasive plastic shards, you will cringe when I explain that you might have eaten bacteria-filled microbeads without knowing it. Microbeads are biohazards that can absorb up to 1,000,000 times more toxic chemicals than the water they float in. This is the same water that fertilizes fields of crops, and is drank by the animals we eat.
The little plastic beads are made from polyurethane, a porous plastic material that creates a cheap and effective abrasive for exfoliating skin. A single tube of face wash can contain over 300,000 microbeads, which can then become vessels for bacteria when exposed to it. Because the beads are extremely small, when they are washed down the drain they go right into our water systems. The beads look like food to fish, so fish are being poisoned. They are also too small to filter, so water treatment plants everywhere are struggling to deal with these little biohazards. Toothpastes that contain microbeads are a nightmare for dentists, who are often picking them out of patients’ gums, where bacteria is able to fester thanks to the bead. Oh, and those fish that think the beads are food? If they don’t eat enough to kill themselves, when the fish is caught and turned into sushi, whoever eats the sushi gets a serving of microbeads with their meal.
States around the U.S. are starting to create laws and regulations in light of the havoc microbeads have been reeking on our ecosystem. Two examples of lawmakers in action are senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who introduced the Microbeads Free Waters Act of 2015 to the senate. The bill intends to phase out the manufacturing and sale of microbeads in response to the staggering report put out by SUNY Fredonia, that says up to 1.1 million microbeads are polluting the Great Lakes. Another lawmaker, Councilman Daniel Garodnick of NYC (D-Manhattan) is proposing legislation to prohibit the sale of items that contain microbeads both stores and online. In DC, there is a proposition for a $35,000 fine for distribution of microbeads, that if passed will go into effect January 1st, 2018.
We here at KINDERMA will never use microbeads, and instead our exfoliant product Hand Kind SCRUB uses natural walnut shells for a deep scrub. Walnut shells are not only strong enough to scrub off car oil and tough dye, but most importantly, they are safer and more responsible than microbead products. #BanTheBead! Call your senators and ask that they support the #banmicrobead movement. Click the photo below to replace your hand wash and face wash with Hand Kind SCRUB, the better alternative.