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Exfoliating Plastic Beads Can Harm Marine Life

You Could be Killing Sea Turtles in Your Shower

What could possibly be wrong about body wash? One word: plastics. Know those exfoliating microbeads that wash away dead skin? Unfortunately, many of them contain polyethylene, a non-biodegradable plastic. Sewage treatment plants can't process these tiny particles, so they make it into our water streams. Once they hit the ocean, they often join giant garbage patches, which in turn can choke all kinds of marine life.

Even if the sea creatures survive, the trouble doesn't end there. Toxins from the plastic can seep into other areas of their bodies — and yes, throughout the food chain. Not good for sea turtles and fish, not good for you. If you want to wash up with a completely clear conscience, look for scrubs with biodegradable ingredients like flax, sugars, salts, or ground-up nuts. There's nothing fishy about that.

Join The Conversation
mshogan mshogan 6 years
Instead of store bought body scrubs, I use my leftover coffee grounds, mix it with olive oil and use it in the shower. Smells great, leaves my skin ultra soft and is supposedly good for cellulite as well. Best of all, it's completely natural.
Beauty Beauty 7 years
I'm not sure what the lesser of those evils would be. Probably finishing and recycling? That way you would at least be recycling. I'm mildly obsessed with sea turtles. Saw one in real life and got tears in my eyes because it was so beautiful.
ClassicalTorture ClassicalTorture 7 years
Damn, the face scrub I've been using has polyethylene. Now what's the lesser of two evils? Finishing the scrub and letting the beads go down the drain (then recycling the packing) or tossing the rest of the bottle and letting it end up in a landfill?
skigurl skigurl 7 years
yay mine doesn't have it either! i felt so guilty the past week while showering!
bingbingboom bingbingboom 7 years
Oh no, I need to check my St Ive's scrub.
GummiBears GummiBears 7 years
Thankfully most if not all of my scrubs has sugar or salt as a base. Now my foot scrubs, I need to check.
jenni5 jenni5 7 years
I was worried my SoftSoap Spa Radiant scrub had this but it doesn't!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
I usually do a homemade sea salt scrub and have actually found it works much better than most of what I've bought. Poor sea turtles :(
skigurl skigurl 7 years
aw i use a bead cleanser and i bet it's bad, cuz it's nothing special
Liselola Liselola 7 years
I only use exfoliants with natural 'beads'. I really loved the lavender scrub by L'Occitane with grape seeds but I cannot find it anymore...
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