Microbeads

Jiada Zhao

Here’s something new: microbeads. They’re bio-reactive molecules that can be absorbed or coupled to their surfaces and used to separate biological materials such as cells and proteins.  Right now, they’re found in a lot of everyday cosmetic products, ranging from toothpaste and soap all the way to products that remove dead cells from the skin, exfoliants in other words.

As stated before, microbeads are used to separate biological materials, but what’s so bad about them? Well for one thing, plastic microbeads found in exfoliants are polluting the environment, to be specific, they’re polluting the United States’ Great Lakes. Microbeads are small enough to be washed down the drain, but when they are in the drains, the sewage treatment does not filter them (since they’re too small). Then they flow into the waterways and into the Great Lakes. This means that the Great Lakes will be filled with plastic and this will kill marine life. Three of the Great Lakes are already littered with plastic- Huron, Superior, and Erie. While microbeads do get into the Great Lakes, they will also get into our ocean and harm additional marine life and ecosystems.

Not only are microbeads made of  plastic, but they also absorb toxins along their way.  They’ve been found not only in the Great Lakes, but also in the Los Angeles River and the Pacific Ocean. This is scary because now various aquatic organisms, such as fish and crabs, will absorb those toxin microbeads- later be eaten by humans. Imagine the impact of that on future generations!

This issue has already been brought to the attention of many states, and several are considering putting forth a ban on microbeads.  Many cosmetic companies have already agreed to remove microbeads from their products. What people can do is push their states to ban microbeads.

The Environmentalist Club is always trying to help the environment, and they take any and every chance to do it.  If you are interested in joining the Environmentalist Club, come to Room 456 on Wednesdays, period 9! We’ll be waiting for you there.