Why your facial scrub could be irritating Lake Ontario and a sweet solution

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I was just reading this NPR article about pollution in the Great Lakes from those tiny scrubbing microbeads found in various facial and body scrubs.  The microbeads are included in products for “gentle exfoliation” but they could be causing  irritation to the ecological balance of lakes. Lake Ontario has been effected the hardest, which has the highest levels of micro-bead contamination among all the Great Lakes.

Beach Glass B Foreman Park Lake Ontario NY
Lake Ontario from B Foreman Park


Those little exfoliating beads are usually made up of plastic, and our water treatment facilities can’t totally filter out those tiny little plastic micro-exfoliates from our waste water.  Once introduced into the water supply these tiny plastic balls look like food to some wildlife.

They are about the same size as fish eggs, which means that, essentially, they look like food. To any organism that lives in the water, they are food,” Mason says. “So our concern is that, essentially, they are making their way into the food web.”

~Sherri Mason, an associate professor of chemistry at the State University of New York at Fredonia

Yuck, I don’t want to scrubbing microbeads to be part of the food chain the next time I have perch. Why are they not using something in these cleaners that breaks down naturally? There is  pending legislation in New York that  if signed into law, manufacturers will have until December of 2015 to phase out products with micro-beads.

These micro-bead containing products have not been around long, and the fact that there are already so many micro-beads in Lake Ontario is alarming.  December 2015 is over a year away, let’s stop using them now and start using something that is good for our skin and lake.

Oh, and you can easily mix this sweet scrub right up in your kitchen. The fish would thank you, if they could talk..

[tasty-recipe id=”31223″]

Brown Sugar Facial Scrub a sweet DIY beauty treatment



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