Toothpaste containing the speckled "microbeads".

Toothpaste containing the speckled “microbeads” [Image: Creative Commons].

All things considered, the case against “microbeads” seems – please excuse the use of language here – watertight.

But we have a Conservative Government that shies away from provoking industrialists.

Will the public have to raise a petition against this practice? If so, will enough of us care enough to make a difference?

Manufacturers should be banned from using polluting plastic “microbeads” in cosmetics and soaps sold in the UK, the leader of the Green Party has said.

Natalie Bennett made the call after US president Barack Obama signed a new law prohibiting the selling of products with the tiny plastic particles in them.

Microbeads are solid plastic balls less than 5mm wide. They are found in some toothpastes, body scrubs and other cosmetics and give products a “speckled” appearance.

The beads serve an aesthetic purpose but some manufacturers also claim they can help with exfoliation or cleaning.

The solid plastic particles however do not biodegrade and so can cause environmental damage when washed down the drain.

The beads are not filtered out by water treatment plans and it has been suggested that they can carry toxins once they themselves become contaminated.

Aquatic creatures have also been known to mistake the particles for food.

Source: Call for UK ban on ‘microbeads’ pollutant after Obama takes action in US | UK Politics | News | The Independent

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