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    <p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size: 1.2em”>Walk into any supermarket or chemist and the beauty aisles are full of them – the chances are you even have a few in your bathroom cabinet.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>From body scrubs to smoothing face washes and even brightening toothpaste, plastic microbeads – those tiny balls in exfoliating products, invaluable for their abrasive yet gentle action – have proved such a huge phenomenon in recent years that they can be found in many of our daily beauty products.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>From Johnson & Johnson’s Clean and Clear exfoliating washes to Elizabeth Arden’s exfoliating cleanser and L’Occitane’s rose and almond body scrubs, you can’t escape them.</font></p><div class=”artSplitter mol-img-group”> <div class=”mol-img”> <div class=”image-wrap”> Microbeads are found in everything from body scrubs to smoothing face washes and brightening toothpaste </div> <noscript> Microbeads are found in everything from body scrubs to smoothing face washes and brightening toothpaste </noscript> </div> <p class=”imageCaption”>Microbeads are found in everything from body scrubs to smoothing face washes and brightening toothpaste</p></div><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>But though these hard-working little granules of plastic may seem innocuous, scientists are concerned about their effect on the environment.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>In fact, Gelatin methacryloyl last week, after a campaign by marine conservationists, Cosmetics Europe – which represents more than 4,000 companies – has recommended its members stop using microbeads by 2020.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>So why are these tiny plastic beads, measuring less than 5 mm, causing such a problem?</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>‘Microbeads are too small to be filtered out during sewage treatment and invariably flow out to sea, becoming a direct source of pollution,’ says Dilyana Mihaylova of conservation organisation Fauna & Flora International.</font></p><div><div data-track-module=”am-related_carousel^related_carousel” data-track-selector=”.rotator-panels a:not([class*=external])” data-dm-rotator-rotate=”false” data-track-pos=”static” data-preferred-shared-network-enabled=”” data-dm-rotator-auto-init=”” id=”p-20″ class=”related-carousel with-fb-or-tw femail” data-dm-rotator-active-class=”active” data-dm-rotator-page-count=”1.0″ data-dm-social-article-auto-init=”” data-dm-rotator-page-size=”1″> <div class=”rotator bdrcc”> <div class=”rotator-title”> <h2>RELATED ARTICLES</h2> <ul class=”rotator-pages link-xocc”> <li class=”rotator-prev”>Previous

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    </div> </div><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>‘This is a problem because they don’t biodegrade and can pose a serious threat to animals, which can easily mistake them for food.'</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>Plastic in our seas and waterways is obviously not a good thing – this newspaper’s Banish the Bags campaign showed us that – but scientists worry microbeads could present a particular problem.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>Stiv Wilson, director of campaigns for pressure group The Story Of Stuff Project, explains: ‘The smaller something is, the more animals can eat it.

    These are tiny and are being released into the water table in their trillions.'</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>Our lakes, rivers, coral reefs and sea beds are becoming home to vast quantities of microbeads that can be eaten by fish, seabirds and other mammals.</font></p><div class=”mol-img-group floatRHS”> <div class=”mol-img”> <div class=”image-wrap”> People who consume a lot of shellfish could be consuming more than 10,000 microbeads a year </div> <noscript> People who consume a lot of shellfish could be consuming more than 10,000 microbeads a year </noscript> </div> <p class=”imageCaption”>People who consume a lot of shellfish could be consuming more than 10,000 microbeads a year</p></div><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>‘Because plastic is made from oil, it absorbs any toxic pollution in the water,’ says Wilson. ‘Some tests have shown microbeads to be up to a million times more toxic than the surrounding water.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>‘These toxic pollutants can alter the sex of a creature, from male to female.

    We’ve also seen fish with feeding apparatus stuck full of plastic so they can’t absorb nutrients. And corals are getting clogged.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>‘We are concerned how these toxins travel up the food chain. One big fish will eat 10,000 little fish, and then a human eats the big fish.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>‘There’s potential for lots of toxins to be contained within that.'</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>A report by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection states that people who eat a lot of shellfish or seafood could be unwittingly consuming more than 10,000 microbeads every year.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>While the effects on our health are unknown, one piece of research has suggested that chemicals from microplastics could work their way into the tissues of the human body.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>In other words, you may end up digesting – and storing – the toxic grains you use to wash your face.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>Perhaps it’s little wonder that environmental campaigners are so keen to ban microbeads.

    Some brands are ahead of the game. Tesco has promised to remove microbeads from its own-brand range by 2017, and Marks & Spencer plans to do so by next year.</font></p><div class=”art-ins mol-factbox floatRHS femail” website <h3 class=”wocc”> <span style=”font-weight: bold;”>ANCIENT TRICKS </span> </h3> <div class=”ins cleared xolcc bdrcc”> <p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em;”>Egyptians used specks of alabaster combined with milk and honey as face and body scrubs</font></p></div><div data-swipe-article=”false”><!- – ad: website – -><div class=”adHolder mpu molads_mpu_factbox” id=”mpu_factbox_1″><script>adverts.addToArray(“pos”:”mpu_factbox”)</script><span class=”mol-ads-label-container”><span class=”mol-ads-label”>Advertisement</span></span></div>

    </div> </div><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Co-op say they do not sell any own-brand products containing microbeads. And companies that do are planning on getting rid of them as soon as possible.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>L’Occitane says it tries to use crushed almond shells or apricot kernel powder as alternatives to plastics and has committed to removing the few products that do contain them.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>Johnson & Johnson says it, too, is phasing out microbeads and aims to complete the process by the end of 2017.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>And Elizabeth Arden says it is also taking measures to remove microbeads from its beauty products.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>If you’re worried about your scrub, take a look at the ingredients – if polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polymethyl methacrylate, polytetrafluoroethylene or nylon appear in the top ingredients, it suggests there are microbeads in there.

    Another form of polyethylene is also used as a stabiliser, binding agent, thickener, and film-forming agent in moisturisers, but this will appear lower down in the ingredients list.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>And if you don’t fancy reading the small print, use the Good Scrub Guide published by Fauna & Flora International.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>Or download the Beat The Microbead app which allows you to scan the barcodes of products to check for the presence of microplastics while shopping.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>Here are three products that prove scrubs don’t have to contain microbeads:</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Angels On Bare Skin, £6.95, lush.co.uk</span></font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>Inspired by a medieval recipe, this gentle cleanser made from 100 per cent natural ingredients contains ground almonds to tone and brighten.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Fruit Scrub Exfoliator, £12.95, greenpeople.co.uk</span></font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>An uplifting blend of citrus oils, apricot kernel oil and apricot seeds to gently remove dead skin cells, promote cell regeneration and leave skin glowing and moisturised.</font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Skin Buff, £28.50, elemis.com</span></font></p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”><font style=”font-size:1.2em”>Fine granules made from natural ingredients, including hops and phytoplankton, GelMA Bio ink slough off dead skin cells without damaging the environment.</font></p></div>

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