Sure, exfoliation can be great for your skin, but if your toothpaste or body wash is one of the 1000s of products on the market with microbeads, you’re washing tiny plastic particles down the drain with every use. Across the state, that amounts to 19 tons of plastic trash each year released into our waterways, according to a report released by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in April 2015.
And these tiny plastic beads, about the same size as fish eggs, can be confused for food to organisms living in our rivers and oceans. Over time, these indigestible pieces can build up in organisms’ stomachs and prevent them from getting essential nutrients; the plastic also absorbs toxins present in the water, slowly poisoning the organisms as well.
There is something we can all do, though! Get informed! First, make sure that your favorite household beauty products are not one of the many that contain microbeads by checking the label or Beat the Microbead. If you want to get more involved, write your New York legislators to aid in their current campaign to ban plastic microbeads from household products. Spread the word!