New study to examine environmental effects of plastic microbeads
Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 11:44 AM - Microbeads found in common household toiletries may help exfoliate your skin and clean your teeth.
But at what cost?
The effects of microbeads on the environment and wildlife are being investigated in a study by Environment Canada.
The results of the study will determine the course of action taken by the federal government moving forward.
Plastic microbeads are used predominantly in facial cleansers, toothpastes and shower gels, and are considered safe for use by Health Canada.
Plastic microbeads in toothpaste.
Environmental groups have called for a ban on microbeads since the tiny particles began appearing in lakes, rivers and the stomachs of marine life.
The beads can also act as sponges, absorbing harmful chemicals and pesticides that are then ingested and absorbed by wildlife.
The plastic beads are too small to be captured by water treatment plants and easily infiltrate water supplies.
Members of the New Democratic Party have petitioned that the beads be listed as a potential toxic substance under the Environmental Protection Act.
This classification would give the federal government the authority to control and even ban the use of microbeads in consumer products.
That's the route already taken by areas south of the border.
In the United States, New Jersey and Illinois have banned the manufacture and sale of products containing microbeads.
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