Why New York & Other States Are Worried About Your Face Wash

Your face wash may be bad for the environment, and several states are trying to do something about it. The problem is “microbeads,” minuscule pieces of plastic about the size of Abe Lincoln’s eye on a penny, Time reports. They’re found in all kinds of products from the likes of Clean & Clear and Olay, and after traveling down the drain, they land in lakes and oceans. There, experts say, they may collect toxins before they’re eaten by fishóand end up in the food chain.

“Big fish eat little fish; eventually the fish is on your dinner plate,” a scientist tells CBS News.

Researchers haven’t yet determined for sure whether microbeads cause environmental harm. Still, New York, Illinois, California, Ohio, and Minnesota are debating bills to ban the beads.

“The fundamental question is going to be: Do we wait to take this material out until we prove that this microbead causes harm?” asks a marine ecologist. If laws are passed against the beadsóthe New York State Assembly this week voted 108-0 to ban them, Plastics News reportsócompanies may not put up much of a fight. Johnson & Johnson already plans to get rid of microbeads by 2017, and Procter & Gamble is also moving against the beads.

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Photo credit: Flickr, 40813744@N06


Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

No telling how the damage to your face will show...

Lady Kaira
None None3 years ago


Barb Hansen
Ba H3 years ago


Krista Slavin
Krista Slavin3 years ago

It seems like plastic is in everything now-a-days. I don't use face wash.

Gloria picchetti
Gloria picchetti3 years ago

Previously signed. I have not bought micro beads products for quite a while because of the movement against them.

Janis K.
Janis K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen3 years ago

Thank you :)

Christie C.
Christie C3 years ago

I second Diane about blue and green colors in cosmetics and body products being toxic. Pigments are among the handful of chemicals the FDA actually regulates use of in cosmetics (unlike microbeads) because most have been found to cause all sorts of health and environmental problems once long-term, independent testing was done.

All of the new synthetic and "natural" ingredients and new combinations of chemicals in products are largely untested. No one really knows what their products are capable of doing until results show up in the field aka the marketplace. It's why I stopped buying all cosmetics a few years ago and started making my own.

Microbeads and similar ingredients aren't only found in major brands. Remember that the natural brands are usually
a) owned by major brands
b) purchase their products or ingredients from the same suppliers as major brands
c) increase consumption of tropical crops like palm, coconut, cocoa, castor and much more which contributes to deforestation, human rights abuses, and big Ag companies
d) combining new "natural" chemicals and using them in new ways without adequate testing. They do not know what the long-term effects will be.

Bob P.


Danuta Watola
Danuta W3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.