Microbeads, Major Problems

by MAdamowicz on October 16, 2015 - 8:14pm

     In the article linked at the bottom, Ada Carr presents the issue of microbeads. The plastic beads, no larger than 5mm, are found in some toothpastes and cleaning products. They are used to replace natural exfoliation materials and designed to wash down drains. Recent studies have shown that microbeads are a major contributor to plastic pollution in our oceans and lakes because wastewater treatment plants were not designed to treat them.  Their durability and small size make them difficult to clean up, and they are released into the environment in extremely high amounts (8 trillion per day!). After the beads are dumped into the water, some fish species tend to mistake them for food. It is very possible that as we climb the food chain to the very top, we may be absorbing many of these contaminants consumed by marine life. Fortunately, many companies such as L’Oreal, Colgate, and Johnson and Johnson have taken a stand against microbeads and have banned their use.

     Like most people, I believe that these beads need to be banned. They are obviously a problem for the environment and to our health, so we need to ban them from being used in our products. We need to start thinking about how we are going to clean up the microbeads that have already been released into the environment. I do have one question: Do you believe the benefits of using plastics in general outweigh the consequences they have on our environment?  

 

Reference

   Carr, A (2015, September 21) Microbeads In Your Toothpaste and Soap are Causing Massive Water Pollution, Researchers Say. The Weather Channel. Retreived from http://www.weather.com/science/environment/news/microbeads-microplastic-ocean-lake-river-aquatic-habitat-pollution

Comments

HI, I found your article to be very well organized and informative. To be honest I was unaware of this issue and in reading your article I was able to get a better understanding on what the issue is and the effects it is causing on ecosystems. I hope in the near future that all companies ban the use of microbeads and if not new legislation can be put into place to stop it. To answer your question, I do not think that the benefit of using plastic in general outweighs the consequences it has on our environment. I believe humans have become to dependent on this material and we need to change this before it starts destroying ecosystems across the world. I think you raise an excellent point in that these microbeads need to be immediately cleaned up. With over 8 trillion microbeads being released daily it could cause disastrous results to fish populations. One thing I would want to know more about is how we are going to be able to clean up these microbeads. How would you suggest cleaning up this material and do you even think we can? Your article was very interesting and made me think more about the products I use and the problems they can cause for the environment.
Erin Smith