I’ll admit to buying products with “microbeads” to scrub my skin. Ooooo. They sounded so awesome and scrubby. I’ll admit, I fell prey to marketing back in the day (like anytime before 2008) and I really didn’t think about the impact to the environment or to me of using such a product. I was just trying to improve my skin.
Those “microbeads” aren’t just some solidified skin product that breaks down during the scrubbing process. For some reason that’s what I thought they were. They’re micro-sized beads of polyethylene plastic. These microbeads get washed down the drain and eventually make their way back into the water system, where they will practically NEVER break down (it’s the same stuff they make plastic bags out of), and they have a chance of being consumed by wildlife and even eventually ourselves. Which is equally disturbing in that it’s been shown to be an irritant, a neurotoxin, an immune system toxin, and has shown to cause cancer when rubbed in moderate doses on lab rats, as reported on cosmeticsdatabase.com which lists studies done on various cosmetic ingredients from numerous sources.
Slightly off topic, what actually disturbed me even more about what I read there about polyethylene is that it’s currently legal for livestock raisers to add a half a pound of the stuff per week per head of cattle in feed as “roughage”. Really???? It’s so hard to find actual greens to feed your cattle that you resort to feeding them PLASTIC???? Here’s a thought. They’re cows. Feed them grass. That’s what they’re designed to eat. Not corn, not by-product bits of other cows, but grass. Yet another reason to loathe the practices of Big Food.
So, today I’m tossing those old products that I bought. I’m sad I bought them in the first place, and I haven’t tossed them until now because I felt guilty throwing out something that I thought was “perfectly good”, even though I’ve moved on to more natural scrub products. Now those plastic tubes with their plastic contents are going into a landfill, but at least they’re not going down the drain.
For the future, when i need a good scrub for my face or body I’ll use the Honey/Baking Soda facial scrub or sugar body scrub recipes from No More Dirty Looks. They’re cheaper and better both for me and the environment.