The Toronto Sun reports that microbeads are causing problems in the Great Lakes. Microbeads are common in facial cleansers which serve to exfoliate and cleanse the skin. Microbeads are those little specks seen in cleansers and are commonly made of tiny pieces of plastic. Brad Reifler has learned that these tiny pieces of plastic go into the sewer system where they make their way into the Great Lakes. Plastic does not dissolve but travels quickly and easily out into the waters where it is mistakenly consumed by fish and seafood.
Although not much is known about the long-term impact ingestion of these tiny bits of plastic will have on wild life, it is thought to be a matter of imminent concern as the plastic does not easily break down. As the plastic is consumed, then deposited back into the water the problem is perpetuated. The Minister of the Environment says that this has become a problem that needs immediate attention. Of the lakes Lake Eerie has the highest amounts of plastic microbeads in the water.
It is not known yet if the microbeads will be banned or if companies are just encouraged to remove them from their products.