March 26, 2014

Microbead Ban


Scott: Okay. So I have got a question for you. What are your morning musts? Shower, wash your face, brush your teeth, right? Well, a key ingredient to help getting your skin squeaky clean may be causing some serious damage to the environment. Here is Maggie Rulli with the story.

Maggie: From cleansers to toothpaste to shampoo, more than 100 products on the market contain tiny microbeads. They are very, very small. It would take 50 of them to cover Abe Lincoln’s head on a penny.

If you have ever used it before you know what it feels like – kind of gritty, like sand. The idea is that when you use it on your skin, it will wipe away old skin, exfoliate the pores and then hopefully fight acne. The thing is, you really have no idea what is in the grit unless you read the label. Some creams use crushed pearls or shells, but the plastic microbeads are also very popular. And there is a reason for that.

Judy Graham: The manmade pieces are spherical. So they’re perfectly round and thus are gentler on the skin.

Maggie: Problem is researchers now say after they wash down the drain, those tiny beads are able to make it past filtration systems and into rivers and lakes and eventually into the fish we eat.

Paul Gallay: The toxic chemicals that are already in the water tend to combine with these plastic beads so it becomes toxic stew.

Maggie: Two years ago, scientists discovered alarming levels of microbeads in the Great Lakes, with the highest concentrations recorded in the New York waters of Lake Erie. That is why state lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban the microbeads in New York. And the very threat of the action has begun changing things.

Lemuel Srolovic: Some of the leaders in the industry have voluntarily committed to a phase out.

Maggie: If passed, New York would be the first state to ban the beads. Lawmakers in California have recently proposed a similar ban.

Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.


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