Thursday, October 29, 2015

Microbeads



Microbeads are tiny spherical particles often found in various healthcare and beauty products such as toothpaste, facial cleansers, and body wash. While these beads are used for exfoliation and polishing for the purpose of you being cleaner, it however is not the same for the environment. It may seem like insignificant issue because microbeads are tiny (usually smaller than 2 millimeters), however they are not degradable. This makes them easy to wash down the drain without causing plumbing issues; but they do not get filtered during water treatment. 

Microbeads absorb other toxic pollutants such as pesticide and motor oil. If a single microbead can contain so many other toxic materials, imagine the impact of hundreds and thousands of them washing through watering systems. Consumption of it endangers wildlife (such as fish, and other animals that eat fish and drink water from streams). When we consume these animals, we are essentially digesting plastic (and who knows what it absorbed) as well. This creates a cycle that greatly affects wildlife as well as us.

It is because they are long-lasting and cheaply manufactured, that they are favored by many cosmetic brands, versus opting for bio-degradable plastics which require a larger scale facility to create. Microbeads are smooth and non-abrasive, and take a while to actually exfoliate the skin, which then causes consumers to purchase the product more often and drive up sales. However there are many campaigns and organizations fighting against it (and many states and countries trying to ban it):


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Microbeads

Microbeads are polyethylene microspheres. These microbeads can be found in cosmetics and personal care products like toothpaste. It can also be found in other things like biomedical stuff, but I really think that cosmetics and care products will be my primary focus. Before I took this class I actually switched my toothpaste because I read about these microbeads and I am ecstatic that this will be our course topic. There are three types of micro beads fluorescent polyethylene, colored polyethylene, and black polyethylene microspheres. Other than potential health problems caused by these microbeads there is also potential environmental effects they can have. When using care products like exfoliating products or toothpaste these microbeads get washed down the drain and they end up passing through our treatments plants and end up in the rivers and streams. That is not good for us and certainly not good for our animal friends. That is why this is such a hot topic for environmentalist and is a great topic to discuss. 


California has now outlawed and are phasing out microbeads in personal care products within their state, which will take effect in 2020. They are showing up in the bodies of fish and other wildlife after passing through the filtration systems. The problem is the beads are not disintegrating which makes them environmentally unfriendly. The legislation passed in California will make sure these companies comply and use environmentally safe alternatives. 


On the other side of the country a man named Mr. Wilson, who lives on a sailboat, is an environmentalist who has helped lead the fight against microbeads. He calls it a “Trojan horse” in the effect that these beads go through the filtration system by the billions, which equates to 19 tons, and washes into the waste water every year. That could very well work its way into the food chain like fish and ultimately can end up digesting them ourselves. Mr. Wilson and others are fighting to pass bills like the one in California that will make these companies cease making the harmful microbeads and switch to an environmentally safe alternative.  



Monday, October 26, 2015

Microbead consciousness

Microbeads are found in numerous aspects of our daily life. Soaps, toothpastes, body scrubs, and other products used on a daily basis all contain these tiny plastic beads. They seep through even the best water filtration systems and contaminate the waterways and ecosystem. There is a smartphone application that will allow one to determine if the product they are about to use or purchase contains microbeads. I saw via beatthemicrobead.org, the North Sea Foundation and the Plastic Soup foundation have created the "Beat the Microbead app". This will allow consumers to scan product barcodes make the determination.
California made strides this month joining many other states (many on the east coast) in making the Microbead ban official, according to the New York Times.
What can we do to help this cause? Download the app; when we go shopping take a few extra minutes to determine if what we're purchasing is harmful to the environment. Say no to microbeads and support the legislation decisions that are against them.

Microbead Water Pollution

Used in face and body scrubs, lotions, toothpastes, and other beauty products as exfoliating agents, microbeads (polyethylene, polypropylene) are tiny plastic beads that do not break down in water, thus are being washed down our drains and wreaking havoc on our waterways. Not only should we worry about our water, but the MANY animals that call our waterways home.
 
Because of their tiny size, (defined in the U.S. as less than 5 millimeters at its largest dimension) they pass through sewage treatment plants with ease, which results in plastic particle water pollution. It may seem like a few plastic beads down the drain is no big deal, but when a single tube of face wash can contain up to 330,000 microbeads, and thousands of these products being sold on a daily basis, this creates a HUGE deal for our water and beloved animals.

 
Many groups have been formed in hopes to ban the microbead. One of them, 5GYRES, is passionate about his issue and has created a website with useful information on microbeads, and a petition to sign to help ban the bead. I highly encourage you to follow the link below, become more aware of this issue, and sign the petition. If enough of us ban together, we can help end microbead pollution. Click below.
 
 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

     Microbeads are polyethylene microspheres. These microbeads can be found in cosmetics and personal care products like toothpaste. It can also be found in other things like biomedical stuff, but I really think that cosmetics and care products will be my primary focus. Before I took this class I actually switched my toothpaste because I read about these microbeads and I am ecstatic that this will be our course topic. There are three types of micro beads fluorescent polyethylene, colored polyethylene, and black polyethylene microspheres. Other than potential health problems caused by these microbeads there is also potential environmental effects they can have. When using care products like exfoliating products or toothpaste these microbeads get washed down the drain and they end up passing through our treatments plants and end up in the rivers and streams. That is not good for us and certainly not good for our animal friends. That is why this is such a hot topic for environmentalist and is a great topic to discuss.
     California has now outlawed and are phasing out microbeads in personal care products within their state, which will take effect in 2020. They are showing up in the bodies of fish and other wildlife after passing through the filtration systems. The problem is the beads are not disintegrating which makes them environmentally unfriendly. The legislation passed in California will make sure these companies comply and use environmentally safe alternatives.

     On the other side of the country a man named Mr. Wilson, who lives on a sailboat, is an environmentalist who has helped lead the fight against microbeads. He calls it a “Trojan horse” in the effect that these beads go through the filtration system by the billions, which equates to 19 tons, and washes into the waste water every year. That could very well work its way into the food chain like fish and ultimately can end up digesting them ourselves. Mr. Wilson and others are fighting to pass bills like the one in California that will make these companies cease making the harmful microbeads and switch to an environmentally safe alternative. 
       
  


http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/23/business/energy-environment/california-takes-step-to-ban-microbeads-used-in-soaps-and-creams.html