Monday, August 10, 2015

Avoiding Microbeads

It amazes me on a regular basis how many ways we have found to fuck up the planet. Here's another.

Canada is the latest government to defend itself against a teeny, tiny threat. In recent years, researchers have called out microbeads – 1mm to 5mm orbs of plastic often found in exfoliating cleansers and grittier toothpastes – for perpetrating nearly invisible harm to marine life and their ecosystems.

Last year, the UN Environmental Assemblyestimated that the damage caused by microplastics to marine ecosystems costs around $13 billion annually, and called microbeads “an emerging issue”, emphasizing the threat they pose to the food chain. The miniscule plastic beads are absorbed by algae, which in turn is consumed by fish, who also have been found to confuse the beads for food, and, in turn, develop diseases as a result. Microplastics have also been identified as a threat to larger marine life like the endangered northern right whale, according to the UN report, which is potentially exposed to plastic through filter-feeding.

New York state’s attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, estimates that roughly 19 tons of microbeads get flushed into New York’s wastewater each year, according to a report titled “Hidden Threat”. The State Assembly approved a proposal from Mr. Schneiderman’s office to ban microbeads, but the bill is stalled in the State Senate.

Not surprising that it's stalled. My state senator is a Tea Party wingnut. Thanks Kathy. The whales thank you, too. I suppose I shouldn't just assume she's against it. If I'm wrong, I'll have my crow well done please.

Here is what is probably a partial list of products containing micro beads. Damn! My Aveeno is on it. 

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