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.