06/02/14 – NPR recently reported Dr. Sherri Mason’s research on the newest pollutant in the Great Lakes, cosmetic microbeads. These beads which are used in a variety of exfoliating body scrubs, facial cleaners, and other cosmetic products are actually tiny pieces of plastic. Lead by Professor Mason the State University of New York at Fredonia students collected samples of debris in the lakes by dragging a net that caught all objects greater than a third of a millimeter.
This sampling revealed there to be approximately 17,000 of these plastic pieces per square kilometer in Lake Michigan. Lake Erie and Ontario have higher levels of plastic particles while Lake Huron and Superior have lower.
The concern of these bits of plastic entering the lakes revolves around their impact to the total ecosystem. Primarily, these beads are thought to potentially increase the level of harmful toxins entering the food chain. These microbeads can absorb toxins and the researchers are concerned that those toxic chemicals could then be passed to wildlife and eventually humans as the beads are so small in size they appear as food to many organisms living in the water.
These findings are affecting New York legislature as a ban on microbeads is quickly rising through legislative branches. If this legislation is indeed made law, New York manufacturers will only have until December of 2015 to completely phase out products with microbeads. This legislative change will not only effect New York but equivalent laws are making their way through Illinois while the other lake states are thought to quickly join suite.
Product manufacturers are urged to proactively begin creating alternative products with natural exfoliants such as apricot seeds, sand, or cocoa beans. Avomeen’s product development laboratory has already helped manufacturers reformulate facial scrubs modifying their formulations to include alternative bio-degradable materials instead of utilizing microbeads.
Reach out to Avomeen’s skilled chemists today for a complimentary initial consultation and see how they can help you keep the Great Lakes clean, protect your brand’s image, and keep your products ahead of upcoming legislative changes.