Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder… and the stomachs of unsuspecting wildlife
As Valentine’s Day is approaching and couples primp for their special date night, are they doing so at the expense of our environment? From facial cleansers to toothpaste, abrasives are prevalent in “beauty” items to exfoliate and ensure that we are putting our best face forward. But what makes these products feel coarse to the touch are a lot rougher on the environment than it is on your face.
Micro-beads, or micro-plastics, are often used in products to provide the grainy texture which helps to exfoliate. As they are nearly invisible, many do not realize the major role they are playing in wreaking havoc when you wash them down your drain. Serving as a magnet for nasty chemicals like hydrocarbons and flame retardants, these beads, inevitably end up in our oceans.
Once in our waterways and oceans, everything from fish to birds and worms ingest these plastics. This is how the nasty hitchhiking chemicals on these micro- beads are introduced into the food web and “bio-accumulate”, or build up. As they build up they become toxic, impacting everything from fish to whales to humans that consume the contaminated prey lower on the food chain.
While many have been aware of the issue for some time, regulations preventing the use of micro-plastics have been slow to develop. This week, however, lawmakers in state of New York put forward legislation that would ban the sale of products containing micro-plastics in their state. WDC applauds Assemblyman Robert K. Sweeney of Suffolk County and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for proposing this action which we hope, is the first, in a series of many. The more states that ban the use of micro-plastics will mean a great reduction in the bio-waste and micro-plastics in our waterways and oceans.
There are also things that individuals can do to help stop the problem, because, as they say, there is an app for that – you’re only a download away from finding out if the products you chose are micro bead free! Please help us in our fight to protect our oceans, whales and ourselves by making sure your date night is also a safe night for the environment.