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Microbeads – From Your Face to Your Food

Photograph by Tom Newton
It is a popular (and hygienic) habit but washing your face with certain products may be causing more harm than good. Microbeads, beads that are so tiny we do not even know they are there, can be found in face wash, toothpaste, and sometimes even in our food. They are usually smaller than 1 mm, which is why most people may not know about them. Microbeads help with exfoliating, which is why it is a popular ingredient in face scrubs and toothpaste. When it first started to become commercialized the long-term consequences were not studied; the microbeads provided a cheap alternative to resources that were running out and that was that. Now we know that microbeads are almost impossible to remove from our environment and that they make up most of the plastic we find in the ocean.
There are multiple reasons why microbeads are now banned in the United States: the plastic is polluting fresh water and ocean water, which is leading aquatic animals to getting sick from eati…

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