Commend Company for Removing Plastic Micro Beads from Soap

Target: Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever

Goal: Commend Unilever for phasing out plastic micro beads—a major type of marine debris—from all products.

Many of us use exfoliating soaps with micro beads, never questioning or considering what those little beads are made of and how they might affect our environment. Those tiny beads are actually a bigger environmental threat than we may think. Fortunately, the multinational consumer goods company, Unilever, producer of Dove soaps, Vaseline, and Pond’s skin cream and personal care products, has announced that by 2015 their products will no longer contain these micro beads. Applaud Unilever for taking action to stop the dispersion of micro beads into our oceans and preventing what could have become a larger problem.

Each tiny bead is comprised of plastic pieces and is a major type of marine debris. These microplastic particles have been found in the tissues of marine invertebrates and have the ability to linger in creatures for months. A recent study found that these plastic particles have the ability to remain in mussels for 48 days. At this point, it is unknown how harmful the particles may be to marine creatures.

Another growing concern is the micro beads’ ability to absorb toxic chemicals. Because the microplastics absorb chemicals, researchers are concerned about the marine life that may ingest them. The microplastics do not degrade naturally, therefore more and more will accumulate in the environment over time. Organisms at the bottom of the food chain that ingest the micro beads will pass on any toxins attached to the plastics. Therefore, the chemicals can move from tiny organisms to larger marine life quite easily and quickly. It is still uncertain how many micro beads organisms may be ingesting, but Unilever is taking precautionary actions to prevent a bigger problem from occurring.

Unilever deserves our thanks for taking action now before more and more micro beads end up in our environment. The company is already developing a safer alternative to the plastic micro beads for their use in exfoliating soaps. Sign this petition and thank Unilever for acting now to prevent a potentially dangerous situation.


Dear Mr. Polman,

I would like to show my support for your decision to discontinue the production of plastic micro beads in exfoliating soaps. These plastic particles are a major type of marine debris, and while there is not much research on the exact effect the particles may have on marine life, their presence is only increasing with time. By taking action now, Unilever is preventing what could have possibly become a larger problem.

Microplastics absorb chemicals, therefore any toxins attached to the micro beads may be harmful to the organisms that accidentally ingest them. These toxins can easily move from organisms on the bottom of the food chain to larger marine life. Plastic does not degrade naturally, therefore over time more and more micro beads can be found in the environment. By taking action now and discontinuing the use of microplastics, Unilever is preventing what could have possibly become a dangerous situation. Thank you for finding a safer alternative to the plastic micro beads and helping to keep marine life safe and our environment clean.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Maya Picture Via Freedigitalphotos

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One Comment

  1. tim matheson says:

    It is good to see Unilever doing the right thing, please extend this attitude to all of your products.

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