Microbeads are getting more publicity about being bad for the environment. As mentioned in a previous OCEAN 25 article about microbeads, the USA has already passed a law to prohibit the use of microbeads. Other countries are continuing this trend. The UK government announced plans to ban microbeads in cosmetics and cleaning products by 2017 (BBC 2016). These products can range from toothpaste, facial scrubs and other household products.
Just like in the USA some countries are making voluntary changes to phase out the use of microbeads despite the plans by the government. In efforts to aid in the decreased usage of microbeads, some organizations and websites are educating the public about which products contain or do not contain microbeads, such as Beat the Microbead. Large companies like Johnson & Johnson and Proctor and Gamble, which own Crest toothpaste, Gillette and Olay, are committing to phasing out microbeads by next year. (BBC 2016).
The reasoning behind this plan is for environmental purposes. It was revealed that a single shower can result in 100,000 plastic particles entering the ocean (BBC 2016). These particles can be detrimental for ocean life, especially animals that are filter feeders like oysters. After an animal like an oyster ingests microbeads, they can transfer up the food chain. Eventually, they could end up being consumed by humans. There is little evidence about the potential human health impacts, but further research is clearly needed (BBC 2016).
Along with the UK and the USA, Canada has also planned to ban microbeads (Hong 2015). This is an important environmental issue and hopefully banning microbeads will catch on to other countries.
More information in the link below:
Thank you to OCEAN Researcher Erich Dietterle