Print this page

Microbeads

Microbeads are tiny little scrubbing components, put into cosmetics, soaps, and personal care products to give you a nice bit of exfoliation. Sounds fine, right? It turns out that these microbeads — which are actually made of plastic — end up in our waterways and marine life. They not only release toxic chemicals, but can absorb more dangerous chemicals from their surrounding environment.

0 current policies in 0 states
4 adopted policies in 4 states
  • Current Policies
  • Adopted Policies
  • Both

Microbeads In Our Lives

Where can you find microbeads? Just check your bathroom. Soaps, cosmetics, and several other personal care products that promise a nice bit of exfoliation.

Microbeads In Our Bodies

Once microbeads leave your bathroom and hit the natural world, they accumulate in sea life — which we consume. In addition, some evidence suggests that they attract persistent organic pollutants like PCBs and DDT that are already in the marine environment. When we consume seafood, we are then exposed to these chemicals which have been shown to cause cancer and other health harms.

Progress To Protect Health

In 2015, SAFER worked with 5 Gyres and Story of Stuff to create model legislation that would truly protect waterways and ban all microbeads from personal care products. This policy was introduced in many states, and, as the bill tracker shows, passed in several.

In December 2015, Congress looked to this action in the states, and passed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 that banned the use of all microbeads in personal care products.