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Should an immediate ban on microbeads in toiletries be imposed?

Many cosmetics and toiletries such as shower gels and anti-ageing creams, scrubs and even toothpastes contain thousands of tiny microbeads to add body and provide abrasion. 

These tiny plastic beads are then flushed into our rivers and the sea and then eaten by fish and shellfish which we eventually consume. It has been estimated that an average plate of shellfish could contain as many as 50 plastic particles.

There is now a demand for an immediate ban in the UK which has been called by the Greenpeace, Marine Conservation Society and Fauna & Flora international. Some cosmetic companies have said there should be a voluntary ban on them and the EU is looking to ban them in 2020

However MPs have now joined the call for an immediate ban with the Environmental Audit Committee Chair, Mary Creagh saying

“Trillions of tiny pieces of plastic are accumulating in the world’s oceans, lakes and estuaries, harming marine life and entering the food chain. A single shower can result in 100,000 plastic particles entering the ocean. Cosmetic companies’ voluntary approach to phasing out plastic microbeads simply won’t wash. We need a full legal ban.” 

 

Products that contain them don’t necessarily list “microbeads” in the list of ingredients. Instead, they will often list the petrochemical plastics that go into them, such as polyethylene and polypropylene.

We all probably use many products containing microbeads, and are not aware of this. They could be harming all of us, contaminating our environment and harming not only us, but our children and grandchildren.

What are your views. Do you consciously try to avoid buying products containing microbeads? Should we have an immediate ban in the UK of cosmetics containing microbeads? Is it fair to delay this potential ban?

Should an immediate ban on microbeads in toiletries be imposed?

542 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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Treehugger1
20th Sep 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
I was completely pro banning the products containing microbeads ............and then I saw my dentist today who recommended using whitening toothpaste to help remove some light stains which have appeared on my teeth.

I am now one of the world's biggest hypocrites, as my vanity has seen me add this toothpaste to my shopping list. Gosh I hate myself 🙁
bea747
30th Sep 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
But if you check out what Sandra E said on 28/8 you might think again. There are all sorts of negatives about these things. Don't hate yourself, you have just been a victim of a sales push directed at vanity. After all, if your teeth are clean without them, why bother.
JinxB
16th Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
There are many products that use crushed almond shells as microbeads
They will decompose quickly and leave no residue and are completely natural, these polymer beads will last for centuries and will slowly accumulate in the oceans and particulate filters in sewage plants are too coarse to stop them
Wilf
19th Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
Thats a really good point and not sure whey these companies do not use organic compounds like crushed almond shells
MrsPat
12th Sep 2016
3
Thanks for voting!
I have stopped using all these products that I can see have plastic beads in them
Some plastics form a useful function but at what price to wildlife and the environment I am glad to read of research into bio-degradeable alternatives. However.I don't believe there is any reason for polluting our seas with these beads except that of commercial profit. If exfoliators are needed in cleansers they can be provided by ground nut shells which biodegrade. This ban can't arrive too soon, but then microbeaded products will start arriving cheaply on market stalls. It'll be a long time before their influence disappears.
backpacker
4th Sep 2016
3
Thanks for voting!
The use of microbeads is so harmful to the environment, but sadly, many people just don't seem to care. I think too many people see only what is immediately around them and don't stop to think about their actions. How many people actually think about what happens to the waste that's flushed away - it has to go somewhere, but once it's gone down that plughole, that's it - they either don't care, or don't want to know.

We're slowly killing this planet with our greed and materialism. Sorry to sound preachy but the environment and the creatures we share this planet with are causes close to my heart.

Ever been on a "beach clean" in SE Asia? Once you've done one, and seen how just much rubbish - especially plastic - is washed up onto beaches in such places as Thailand and Cambodia, it (hopefully) changes your attitude.
JohnHerb
7th Sep 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
Looks like they have banned them from next year and I agree with what you say about the Far east and beaches there. Some of them have lots of plastic bags and the turtles eat them and choke on them which is terrible
Redbird
4th Sep 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
My 85 years young husband has used charcoal to clean his teeth for years. (He opens a capsule onto an old saucer) Then he dips his brush in it. His teeth are lovely and white, and all his own!
GrannyJack
3rd Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
What on earth did we use in the old days when none of this plastic was around? Good old soap and water and nivea.
annptf
2nd Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
I am only just catching up with this subject, must have been oblivious and not paying attention, as I didn't realise the damage that was being done to the environment, let alone to ourselves.

Have just done a bit of Googling, and there is a list of UK companies that say they don't use microbeads in any of their products (presume they mean 'own brand' products?).

All the big supermarkets plus Wilko and Boots and others.
- www.plasticsoupfoundation.org has more information.
Barton babe
2nd Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
Why do they put all this rubbish in things in the first place, we don't need them. Ban them straight away, we must save our wide
life.
MrsPat
12th Sep 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
I agree they should be banned now
bea747
2nd Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
Why the EU have to wait until 2020 is beyond me, 4 years!!! Stop the practice now.
I note the new extra long lasting Lenor kills fish - it said so on the packaging I read and then didn't buy.
Ultimately the majority of people don't care and government has to step in and do the right thing. Production can be stopped immediately, the microbeads can be melted back down to whatever they started life as.
jeanmark
1st Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
I note that Waitrose have banned ALL products that use microbes.
Sandra E
28th Aug 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
I was listening to Jeremy Vine about microbeads this week. One caller told about having them removed from her gums because they were in a toothpaste she used!! I will definitely check the ingredients list but may need a magnifying glass!!
Wilf
31st Aug 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
I did not realise until reading this that they are in toothpaste as well which means forget about eating fish whenever people brush their teeth they are probably ingesting plastic. It doesn't bear worth thinking about. I am really surprised they got the green light to manufacture this anyway?
Nanjo
28th Aug 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
Why on Earth do we need plastic beads in cosmetics? There are alternatives. Take care of our planet!!!!
philipgibson
27th Aug 2016
3
Thanks for voting!
I don't know if this site works I only want a genuine Female Travel Companion nothing else, possibly meeting for meals etc. but I think I'm looking in the wrong place Has anyone found what they were looking for ??
Wilf
31st Aug 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
I think you placed this in the wrong part of Silversurfers! Should be in the forums I suspect!
Joanperry
27th Aug 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
Had no idea what was happening, will look carefully at contents when buying all the items you mentioned. Would be marvellous if a list of all was printed.
Bakewell
27th Aug 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
Around a month ago i also was using toothpaste that felt Gritty then saw a programme on tv on how it was getting into the sea coursing harm to the creatures the small Reef beds will be ruined .

I felt the little micro beads in my fingertips these small creatures would think its food i soon got rid of the toothpaste in my incinerator and have gone on to a different brand.
Widgey1
27th Aug 2016
5
Thanks for voting!
I don't think people realised that their exfoliator or whitening toothpaste contained these micro beads. Surely nobody would want to knowingly use products which are so harmful to the environment when there are more natural alternatives. I know that I will be much more careful to choose products without them. Ban NOW!
Teluwot
26th Aug 2016
5
Thanks for voting!
you can use various more natural things from the kitchen for body/face scrubs. Salt, sugar, oatmeal. Or if you have a good grinder, ground aduki beans are also used for exfoliating.
jeanmark
26th Aug 2016
7
Thanks for voting!
My step-daughter has informed me that there is an app for smartphones that allows you to scan a product to see if it contains microbeads.
1
Thanks for voting!
Hello Jeanmark if you could kindly let us know the app we can inform all our Silversurfers
jeanmark
27th Aug 2016
3
Thanks for voting!
I haven't tried it myself as I don't have a smartphone, in fact I don't think I have anything smart but the link is http://get.beatthemicrobead.org/
1
Thanks for voting!
Thank you Jean 🙂
Baxi
26th Aug 2016
4
Thanks for voting!
Immediate ban! There are lots of natural alternatives.
Suebythesea
26th Aug 2016
4
Thanks for voting!
There are ecologically sound alternatives to plastic that some cosmetics companies are already using, these should be made compulsory. The less plastic we use, the better.
Iancw12
26th Aug 2016
3
Thanks for voting!
Ban them immediately, the face that launched a thousand ships had no need of them, so why should anyone else?
Alicia
26th Aug 2016
5
Thanks for voting!
Yes they should be banned now, I never saw the point of using them in the first place.
Northern Silver
26th Aug 2016
6
Thanks for voting!
Should be banned - the sooner the better. Now that the harmful ecological effects are becoming known, there is no justification at all for their continued use.
Unfortunately, most people who use products containing microbeads are unaware they are doing so.
I would suggest that until a ban is implemented, the manufacturers should clearly label products, so that the microbeads are included in the list of ingredients. Then at the very least consumers could choose whether or not to use them.
Some companies such as Burts Bees are using biodegradable replacements like crushed coconut husks as replacements. It can be done!
Kes
26th Aug 2016
7
Thanks for voting!
It's a no brainer. There should be a complete ban immediately. We don't need them and never have.
shevod
26th Aug 2016
5
Thanks for voting!
I've read about this several times recently and seen online petitions to have them banned. Don't know why anyone is surprised that the companies aren't all just pulling back on this. If it's cheap & profitable for them to continue they will. The government has the power to ban them completely & if they truly believe it's an issue which is important then they will do it. However, I doubt very much that green issues are top of their priority list.
Wilf
26th Aug 2016
4
Thanks for voting!
Yes but members of government will also be eating fish with plastic ...not a nice recipe! so they should ban them asap
Lionel
25th Aug 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
There's more than a superficial case for banning these products. But, could we trust the cosmetics industry not to implement something far worse/

They are, to say the least, one of the great deceivers of our time.
Wilf
26th Aug 2016
4
Thanks for voting!
Think we just need to legislate this asap. The crazy part is Lionel the people in the cosmetics industry are eating plastic in their fish as well! Plus Mrs May and team
jeanmark
25th Aug 2016
3
Thanks for voting!
There is an international campaign to ban these in cosmetics, the issues isn't new and has been reported a number of times. In January 2016 a petition to ban their use in all cosmetic products sold in the UK received over 13,000 signatures making it eligible to be considered for parliamentary debate. I signed then. If you look at beatthemicobead.org you can see that world wide the issue is being addressed as more and more countries try to impose a ban.
Munsterlander
25th Aug 2016
4
Thanks for voting!
They should all be banned. i read about this in the paper this week. I never realised that when you eat fish you are probably eating this plastic stuff as well. Its an absolute disgrace and should be banned immediately. What halfwit allowed these plastic beads to be put in cosmetics anyway?...and why has this issue just come to light? The UK government should act now and also put pressure on other nations. If the EU will take another 4 years it just shows what a farce it is. I guess they need meetings about meetings in Brussels with all those highly paid useless bureaucrats to make a decision. 4 years get a life we could all be full of plastic by then!!!
Wilf
26th Aug 2016
5
Thanks for voting!
I agree ban them all now I dont want to eat plastic!
Marley444
25th Aug 2016
7
Thanks for voting!
Yes they should be banned immediately! What are we knowingly doing to the environment and ultimately mankind!? I think there should be a list published of all products that contain microbeads, so we can be more aware ourselves. I am going to start reading my labels. Didn't realise about polyethylene and polypropylene on labels so will be more vigilant now. I think all items should be withdrawn from shelves now and that the manufacturers should take responsibility not the consumers! BAN MICROBEADS NOW!!
3
Thanks for voting!
There is a helpful list of products containing microbeads her Marley444 : http://beatthemicrobead.org/en/ 🙂

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