Image from webmd.com

Image from webmd.com

 

Have you ever realized the extent of destruction that your daily morning regimen do to our planet? The earth’s ocean is now full of debris coming from the daily products you used for cleaning. And the problem is, even the most sophisticated waste water treatment cannot remove them from the earth’s oceans. These are tiny microbeads made of plastic commonly found in soaps, body scrubs and cosmetic products. They are reputed for their exfoliating effects, good for the individual but harmful to our environment.

“The problem can be initiated the simple act of brushing teeth. The microbeads in toothpaste are something that even the most modern treatment plants are not capable to handle. And the problem is; the contamination is really huge”, Stephanie Green; co-author of the study from Oregon State University.

According to experts, microbeads thrown to aquatic habitats daily totals to 8 trillion. And this statistics is in America alone referring to the study published in Environment and Technology. According to the study, the extent of microbeads can cover 300 tennis courts daily. Each bead is tinier than 1mm, resembling the size of a pinhead. Its size makes it ideal to wash down drains, adding to the increased microplastic debris polluting fresh water lakes and oceans. And because of their very small size, they can’t be cleaned in large scales.

The amount of microbeads polluting the waters of United States is just a small part of the total amount of polluted water dumped into waste water treatment facilities. They settle into sludge and converted into a runoff coming from sewage plants, continuing to pollute waterways.

“The world is experiencing plastic crisis and many are not even aware of it”, Green said.

A lot of the earth’s marine life species thought these plastic particles are food. That is why scientists are conducting studies on the effects of the plastic particles to the marine life once they are ingested. And according to the national Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, experts are also studying if these plastic particles will be transferred to humans when they consume these marine species.

“These plastic beads were found in the gut of a marine life that we examined. This only shows that contaminants ingested by these marine species can be passed on to animals and humans who ingest them. Hence, this calls for a legislation that removes personal products that contain plastic microbeads in the market”, Chelsea Rochman from University of California said.

Today, several states of the country ban the manufacture and sale of products containing plastic microbeads. Among these states are Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut and Colorado.