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Who would ever think of the scrubbing agent in an exfoliating shower gel, well I guess there are some who would, those that care about what we eat or put on our bodies. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) the scrubbing agents in exfoliating shower gels are made of tiny plastic beads. An UNEP report says that we might be polluting the environment, particularly our oceans with generations of cosmetic use.


Studies show a connection between cosmetics and plastic pollution in the oceans. According to the UNEP study, “for the last 50 years, microparticles of plastic, or microplastics, have been used in personal care products and cosmetics, replacing natural options in a large number of cosmetic and personal care formulations.” “Microbeads and other plastic ingredients are present in products ranging from toothpaste and shower gel to eye shadows and nail polish,”. Their proportions vary from person to person.  Once these beads go down the drain, they can’t be recycled and they don’t biodegrade for a long time, i.e. hundreds of years.

microbeads and the environment

The report recommends phasing out and banning the use of microbeads in personal care products and cosmetics. Illinois was the first state to legally ban the manufacture and sale of products containing microbeads. UNEP also has an app called ‘Beat the Microbead’ – in seven languages that allow customers to check whether personal care products contain microbeads by scanning a product’s barcode.

save the environment

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TUF Quote

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