Whole Foods Market Warns Dangers of Microbeads in Cosmetics

Adapted from Whole Foods Market Blog “There’s Plastic on Your Face… and It’s Washing Down the Drain” by Lia Colabello of the 5 Gyres Institute.

Millions of people unwittingly flush billions of tiny plastic beads down the drain and into our water systems, simply by washing their face! Many facial cleansers, scrubs, peels and body washes use plastic microbeads to exfoliate skin. Unfortunately, it’s not good for fish and other aquatic life. These microbeads are so small that they can easily slip through water treatment systems and end up in our waterways soaking up toxins like petroleum hydrocarbons, PCBs and pesticides, which can pass into the tissues of fish and other marine animals that ingest the particles. These toxins have the potential to enter the human food chain when we eat those fish. The good news is that the microbeads can easily be replaced by natural ingredients such as lemon peel granules, cocoa beans, sea kelp or jojoba beads.

Whole Foods Market has listed microbeads as unacceptable and not conforming with their quality standards. If you buy body-care products outside
of Whole Foods Market, check the ingredients panel for polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polymethyl methacrylate or nylon–any of which means there are microbead plastics in the product. Vendors such as, Acure Organics, donates 1% of all sales of their Brightening Facial Scrub to the 5 Gyres Institute. Please sign the petition to ban microbeads: www.5gyres. org/how_to_get_involved/action/.