Microbeads have already become a big problem in the Great Lakes and our oceans. I’m ashamed to admit that my family WAS a contributor and there’s a very high possibility that you are as well..I’m going to shame myself for a second to help make my point.
Whenever possible, I try to buy the most environmentally friendly brands, especially when it comes to personal hygiene products. However, sometimes things get in the way..an amazing sale you can’t pass up or a family/business trip when the only options are limited to the hotel general store or nearest pharmacy. However it happened, my house ended up with three tubes of Crest toothpaste – one was in mid-use in our main bathroom and the others in our “supply” closet. Using the “beat the microbead” app around the house, I scanned the Crest tubes/boxes and was floored when it said they all contained microbeads.
Nowhere on the box did Crest hint that their toothpaste might have microbeads..I was looking for words like “scrubbers” or “polishers” (like you might find on body or face wash). The only reason I suspected something might be up is because the toothpaste had microscopic particles that did not dissolve after brushing. After reading more about this, it turns out that Crest only adds these blue and white beads to make the toothpaste look pretty and these tiny pieces of plastic are actually angering dentist because they become lodged in your gums.
I couldn’t believe we were still a part of this problem, especially considering that this is not my first time talking about microbeads; i’m feeling incredibly sheepish! But this goes to show that manufactures have carelessly put microbeads in the most absurd products and often times it’s not at all obvious.
Setting aside my embarrassment (and now total disgust for Crest!), I’m hoping this story will push you to download the “beat the microbead” app so you can check out the products in your home – not only for the safety of the environment but also for your families health.
In addition, here’s what 5 Gyres (and SURF Great Lakes) is asking you to do:
First – click on 5 Gyres and sign their petition to place a ban on the use of microbeads!
- Ask your local retailers to STOP selling consumer products that contain plastic microbeads – most stores have a service desk with customer feedback cards.
- Whenever possible, send a message to manufactures to STOP using plastic microbeads in consumer products worldwide and switch to nature made, organic materials that do not pollute the environment. – I will be sending Crest an email!
- check product labels for plastic content and REFUSE to purchase them. – there’s an app for that!
- reach out to you Legislators demanding action and a ban on microbeads in consumer products.
Thanks for listening and (hopefully) not passing judgement. If you do find microbeads in your home, check out this Grist article: What’s a girl to do with soap that’s full of plastic microbeads.