Help the Rappahannock. Don’t Use Products with Microbeads.

by | Aug 11, 2015 | News

By Susan Larson. Photo copyright Fredericksburg Today.

Many face washes and body scrubs contain tiny plastic beads – sometimes labeled “microscrubbers” – meant to exfoliate skin. They are killing our rivers, lakes and oceans, and the creatures living in them. The Rappahannock River is no exception.

“Take a look at the ingredient lists on personal care bottles; if they say polyethylene and polypropylene, then there is plastic in them,” reported the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “Once rinsed off, the beads go down the drain. In most cases, they are so tiny that they slip through wastewater treatment plants and into nearby waterways.”

Thus far 11 states — California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin — have banned or are in the process of banning them, according to Climate Progress.

“Canada has declared microbeads a toxic substance, and the government is planning to prohibit the manufacture, import and sale of “personal-care” products that contain them,” Climate Progress reports.

Four European countries, led by the Netherlands, are pressing the EU to prohibit their use.

What You Can Do

1 – Don’t purchase or use items that contain microbeads.

2 – Ask your skin and nail care professionals not to use them. Tell them why.

3 – Write your local, state and national politicians, asking for a ban.

4 – Contact the manufacturers of your favorite products, and ask them to find alternatives to plastic microscrubbers. Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive have already stopped using microbeads, according to The Economist. “Proctor & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson say they will follow in 2017. Loblaws, Canada’s largest retailer, will remove them from their in-house brand a year later.”

5 – Share this article with friends and family via social media and in person.


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