By: Dianna Parker, Communications Specialist, NOAA Marine Debris Program
Vicki Loe in the NOAA Office of Response and Restoration was surprised to learn – as many are – that exfoliating micro-scrubbers found in some face cleansers don’t dissolve when they go down the drain. They’re actually plastic beads that can end up in the environment, since they’re too small to be caught by waste water treatment plants. They’re also hard to detect, so no one knows exactly how much is out there or how they’re impacting marine life:
“While we don’t yet understand the impacts of microplastics to aquatic organisms,” says Dr. Joel Baker, professor at the University of Washington and Science Director of the Center for Urban Waters in Tacoma, “we do know that releasing persistent materials into the ocean will result in ever increasing concentrations of marine debris.”
Check out the label on your face wash. You might have marine debris in your medicine cabinet and not even know it!