Researchers at UK-based Plymouth University have found millions of plastic microbeads in cosmetic and household products such as toothpaste, shampoo and soap.
The microbeads, commonly used as an exfoliant or bulking agent and which were recently subject to a UN study, are too small to be caught by sewage treatment and therefore can enter the river system, causing damage to marine life.
Lead Researcher and PhD student Imogen Napper, said, “As the study unfolded I was really shocked to see the quantity of microplastics apparent in these everyday cosmetics. Currently, there are reported to be 80 facial scrubs in the UK market which contain plastic material, however some companies have indicated they will voluntarily phase them out from their products. In the meantime, there is very little the consumer can do to prevent this source of pollution.”