Microbeads in cleansing products contaminating the Great Lakes

Global News

MISSISSAUGA – Plastic microbeads are used in cosmetic products to enhance the beauty routine, used to scrub the face and body for a few seconds – but they are having a long-term effect on the Great Lakes.

The microbeads are so tiny, scientists say they are literally being washed from our faces into the lakes.

“They’re too small to get caught by sewage treatment plants,” Nancy Goucher, an activist with Environmental Defence said. “They’re discharged right into our rivers and our lakes.”

Microbeads are plastic and most commonly made from polyethylene.  According to Environmental defence that is the same type of plastic often used to make plastic shopping bags, milk crates, even trash bins.

“We’re using it, when there are natural, biodegradable alternatives,” says Goucher.

Microbeads are generally added to body products as exfoliants, meant to slough away dead skin cells.  They have also been used in toothpaste, although according…

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