Ban Harmful Microbeads in Beauty Products

Beauty Products

Target: Administrator Gina McCarthy of Environmental Protection Agency

Goal: Ban the use of harmful microbeads in all beauty products

Microbeads are tiny plastic spheres about the size of a grain of salt that can be found in many beauty products. These beads go down our drains and if water filters are not fine enough, these beads can slip through and go into our waterways. Microbeads have been shown to absorb toxic chemicals, which are ingested by our marine wildlife. These beads need to be banned immediately as they pose a threat to our wildlife and our environment.

Scientist Marcus Eriksen stated that microbeads absorb pesticides and other toxic chemicals as they go down the drain. As much as 300,000 microbeads can be found in a tube of face scrub, and if treatment plants do not have filters that are fine enough, these beads can slip through. Fish, birds, and other wildlife will mistake these beads for food and ingest them.

Eriksen stated that he and his team found a high concentration of these microbeads in the Great Lakes, prompting an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency. “The same size, the same color, the same texture, in the same composition as the microbeads that we found [in the Great Lakes], we collected from common facial scrubbers on store shelves,” Eriksen said. “They were the same color–little blue and red perfect spheres.”

Major companies like Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and Colgate-Palmolive have promised to phase out microbeads in their products. The New York State Assembly recently banned the sale and distribution of products that contain these beads and California is posing to do the same.

Consumers can receive the same benefit of microbead scrubs with homemade mixtures that use honey and sugar without harming the environment. It’s time our beauty companies make products that don’t harm our wildlife and environment. Sign this petition and urge the EPA to ban the use of microbeads in all products.


Dear Gina McCarthy,

I am writing to implore the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the use of microbeads in all products. These beads pose a huge threat to our wildlife and environment. Because they absorb chemicals and are ingested by our wildlife, they are polluting our environment and our animals. These beads can be found in the stomachs of birds and fish, along with other human debris. And when these animals are eaten by larger predators, they absorb these poisons.

I implore you to enact a ban on these plastic spheres immediately. They are doing more harm than good and beauty companies should pledge to make products that won’t hurt our planet.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Kari Burks via flickr

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