Obama bans microbeads; should we follow suit?

In a bid to protect his nation's waterways, President Obama has signed a bipartisan bill that prohibits selling and distributing products containing microbeads.

A microbead is any solid plastic particle that is less than 5 millimeters and is used for the purpose of exfoliating or cleansing. There are hundreds of products on the market with this type of technology; the tiny little beads have been designed to exfoliate the skin and remove any oil, dirt or makeup build up.

The problem the US President has with them is not that they are bad for the individual who uses them, but more that these tiny balls are ingested by fish, birds, turtles and other wildlife as they mistake it for food. This not only causes serious harm to wildlife but last year alone they calculated that one-quarter of fish purchased at California markets had ingested plastic and scientists are currently doing tests to see if  those chemicals transfer to humans who eat the fish later.


I, for one, am on board with the President's decision. One single tube of exfoliating facewash can contain more than 350,000 microbeads and it’s estimated that 2.9 trillion microbeads enter U.S. waterways annually. That's a hell of a lot of plastic that does not biodegrade in marine environments.


Despite my love for exfoliating, especially with micro beads, I think there are other ways of achieving the same result using a muslin cloth or a device like the Clarisonic, both of which don't damage our environment.


Who's for Enda invoking the same bill?

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