Are microbeads in facial scrubs and body washes hurting our lakes?

Penny with tiny beads on it
When you think about threats to our environment, what comes to mind? Maybe you picture large factories with smokestacks. Or maybe you picture bulldozers and far-reaching oil spills.

Chances are you probably don’t think of the plastic exfoliating microbeads found in many facial scrubs and body washes. It hard to imagine how something so tiny could pose a threat, but NPR recently published an article exploring why lawmakers in several states are taking steps to ban these beads from personal care products.

The article discusses why these beads are bad for our lakes. Not only is the concentration of small plastic particles in the Great Lakes surprisingly high, but environmental advocates are concerned because the microbeads resemble fish eggs. That means that they are being mistakenly consumed by fish and other animals, and toxins from harmful plastics are making their way into the food chain.
MM Feng Shea

The article suggests using products with 100% natural exfoliants in place of products that advertise “exfoliating microbeads” and we agree! There are plenty of natural ingredients that work as exfoliants. Our Feng Shea Facial Scrub contains walnut shell powder, for example, which is a gentle but effective natural exfoliant.

So check out the article and keep in mind that ingredients matter! Plastic particles, no matter how small, have to go somewhere, and unfortunately they’re turning up in greater numbers in the lakes we love.