The Story of Stuff takes on the microbead

Microbead ingredients to avoid.
via The Story of Stuff. To avoid microbeads, skip products that contain these ingredients.

The Story of Stuff is a cool video project that does exactly what it says it will: it takes a close look at the everyday products that surround us. But it also asks another question—do we really need all this stuff?

They’ve taken on bottled water and cosmetics, and now are turning their attention to microbeads. Microbeads are the tiny balls of plastic that are used in all kinds of personal care products, like toothpaste and face wash. They’re also a serious source of pollution.

The creators of The Story of Stuff are joining the ranks of environmentalists that are calling for bans. In the U.S., the state of Illinois has already passed a ban, and California is also considering legislation.

But a bigger win would be a ban on the national level. Last year, the Microbead Free Waters Act was introduced to the House of Representatives by New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone and Michigan republican Fred Upton. So, if you’re a U.S. citizen, consider writing a letter to your represetative expressing support for the legislation.

Meanwhile, there are also lots of natural, biodegradable alternatives if you want to exfoliate your skin (microbeads are truly unnecessary in toothpaste and can get stuck under your gums). Avoid products that contain polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate and polymethyl methacrylate. Or consider making your own face scrub and body scrub.

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