Today the Daily Mail (2014) has reported on the use of microbeads in toiletries as being a pollutant in the food chain. Microbeads are tiny plastic, abrasive balls often found in toiletries such as face scrubs, designed to remove dead skin. The small beads manage to escape water filter systems and can find their way into the sea, where they attract chemicals and other pollutants. It is believed these chemicals could then end up the food we consume, if the polluted beads are eaten by sea creatures and fish.
There is call for manufacturers to reformulate their products without the use of mircobeads, additionally it is reported that Boots are phasing out the sale of these beauty products which should be completed by 2016.
What are the exfoliating alternatives to mircobeads?
Salt and sugar scrubs are more natural and environmentally friendly than plastic microbeads. I have also heard of homemade scrubs being created with oatmeal, but have not personally tried this one. If you have, please feel free to post a link to your recipe below.
Exfoliating gloves or body sponges are also an option. These are normally used by wetting the skin and glove/sponge before applying a face or body wash onto the glove/sponge. Then rubbed over the skin in a circular motion before rinsing.
As with all exfoliating products it is important that what you use is not too abrasive, as it could damage your skin.
Source: Daily Mail (2014) The tiny beads in toiletries that are poisoning fish...and us: Plastic pellets that act as magnets for pesticides in the sea could enter the food chain. [Online] Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2632209/Tiny-beads-toiletries-poisoning-fish-Plastic-pellets-act-magnets-pesticides-sea-enter-food-chain.html (Accessed 19 May 2014).