Saturday, August 16, 2008


One of the books I'm reading for school, "The World Without Us" by Alan Weisman, examines what the planet would look like if humans just suddenly disappeared. The conclusion: Homes and cities would deteriorate rapidly, but a few things would remain and continue to impact the planet. In the book, University of Plymouth marine biologist Richard Thompson says the amount of plastic waste in the ocean is increasing and also getting smaller, meaning smaller creatures are swallowing it. One of the sources: tiny plastic beads used as exfoliants in beauty products.

"Can you believe it?" Richard Thompson demands of no one in particular, loud enough that faces bent over microscopes rise to look at him. "They're selling plastic meant to go right down the drain, into the sewers, into the rivers, right into the ocean. Bite-size pieces of plastic to be swallowed by little sea creatures."

It dawned on me that I might have one of these horrible products. Sure enough, there it was. I thought the product had a natural exfoliant but clearly, it doesn't: Microbeads. You can see the little blue pieces in there, and among the ingredients, polyethylene. I've been scrubbing my face with plastic and then washing it down the drain.

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