Microbeads Make A Macro Impact: What You Need To Know Before 2017

Maria Ying
24-year-old Rutgers graduate. Born and raised in Disturbia, Surburbia. Writing about anything and everything. Let's get weird.

Microbeads: Always seen them listed as an “ingredient” in facewashes but never really thought about them? Don’t even really know what they are? Here’s a guide for you to follow.

20somethings, it’s time to #beatthebead. 

Recently a government mandated decision was made when House and Senate unanimously passed a bill — the Microbead- Free Waters Act of 2015 — that prohibits the sale or distribution of “rinse-off” cosmetics containing microbeads.

What are microbeads?

Microbeads are synthetic plastic microspheres found in cosmetics and personal care products such as scrubs, cleansers, body wash, lotions and toothpaste. They’re often put in products as an exfoliating and smoothing agent.

The Microbead- Free Waters Act of 2015 passed through Congress with ease and was recently upheld by President Obama when he signed the bill. The act is expected to make a tidal wave of change within the beauty and cosmetics industry as thousands of products will be recalled by 2017.

Guys, don’t cry over these face products with microbeads. Dump them now because the ban on them is actually a very positive initiative made to better our health and environment in so many ways.

Microbeads have proven to be dangerous and problematic due to their size (typically .0004 – 1.24 millimeters) and the durability of their material. These plastic beads are specifically designed to last for long periods of time without breaking down.

That’s the issue.

According to Business Insider, rinse-off products containing microbeads are flushed down the drain, only to find its way into our waterways. With the inability to break down, microbeads destroy marine ecosystems and pollute our drinking water. Aquatic animals inhabiting the microbead-contaminated waters eat the brightly colored beads, which lodge into their stomachs and intestines cause them to die from starvation.

Unfortunately, microbeads are too small to remove once they have entered an aquatic environment — making them catastrophic for marine animal populations.

Rinsed-off microbeads make their way into thousands of fish that we consume on a daily basis.

We unknowingly eat and drink microbeads on the daily basis. They make their way into our drinking system and waterways. Environmental Science and Technology estimates more than 8 trillion microbeads enter the aquatic habitats in the United States on a daily basis. Yup, NOT an exaggeration.

As the world faces a mounting “plastic crisis,” our waste-water treatment facilities have grown from being overloaded and over-exhausted.

What can we do to support our government’s first major confrontation of the nation’s plastic crisis?

Spreading awareness is crucial for any kind of advancement in society. Our government has recently decided to make the first initiative; now it’s our turn to uphold the ban on microbeads by buying products using natural biodegradable ingredients that are better for both the environment and our health.

Buy personal care products that contain natural ingredients instead of products that are non-biodegradable and toxic. Read the back of these products before buying and contributing to the nation’s plastic crisis.

Follow these initial guidelines. Check out this list on products that contain microbeads and #BeatTheBead.