The big news in the mainstream and science press over the past three days has been the call for a ban on a new environmental hazard—glitter. Yep, those shiny, sparkling Mylar decorations found in everything from eye makeup and clothing to fishing lures and your child’s artwork hanging on the fridge are about to be banned from use.
It seems that microplastics such as microbeads in face scrub and toothpaste and other tiny bits of polymer used to make glitter are hazardous to the environment. According to an article in Live Science, “microplastics make up a major proportion of ocean pollution,” with one study estimating that there are “about 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic weighing a total of 268,940 tons floating in the world’s seas,” with microplastics making up 92.4% of the total count.
It seems that glitter used in facial decoration gets washed down the drain and eventually finds its way into the ocean, where these sparkling bits of plastic are eaten by fish. Hence, the call for a global ban on glitter.
So, just remember the next time you’re adding some sparkle to your life to make sure it goes in the trash can when you’re done.