When companies add tiny plastic beads to personal care products, they go surprising places.

Nothing better than singing in the bathroom.

Clip via "The Ellen Show."


But next time you're in there, take two minutes between songs to look at what you might be using on your face...


...or your teeth.

A lot of personal care products contain itty bitty pieces of plastic.

Image via Thinkstock.

Surprised?

The good folks at the Story of Stuff did a bit of investigating. What they found might make you think twice about what you're rubbing on your body.

They're called "microbeads," which is sort of a nice name considering the full story. Companies that make soap, makeup, facial scrubs, toothpaste, and other body care products often include tiny bits of plastic because it gives the products some texture.

There's no evidence these little beads do much. In fact, they are so tiny that they aren't very good at scrubbing, so you end up having to use the soaps and scrubs every day. Natural exfoliants like apricot shells work better — so much better that you wouldn't want to use the exfoliating products every day. See what happens here? You have to go back to the store more often to buy the body products with plastic exfoliants (which are cheaper than the natural alternatives, so companies like to use them). Whadda racket! But that's not even their biggest problem.

Those little plastic beads become tiny toxic bombs.

The beads go down the drain and into our rivers and oceans. Scientists have determined that after they leave your drain, they escape from water filtration plants and make their way into rivers and oceans. Acting like toxin sponges, they chemically "soak up" toxins from the water around them. Those little plastic beads can end up 1 million times more toxic than the surrounding water.

It gets worse: The toxin-filled beads are ingested by fish, which are eaten by bigger fish, which could be caught and eaten by you or me. From facial scrub to your stomach. How's that for a life cycle?

If you see any of the following ingredients: polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, or polymethyl methacrylate, know that you're cleaning your body with plastic and contributing to plastic pollution in the environment that's poisoning our fish — yikes!

Ban the beads!

We can have beautiful skin and teeth without them. They are polluting our rivers and oceans. They are nasty and toxic, and they're hurting fish (and potentially us).



What's happening to put a stop to plastic microbeads?
Right now, about 18 U.S. states including California, Canada, Australia, and several countries in Europe are considering banning products that contain plastic microbeads. Unfortunately, industry is pushing back with a bill that leaves loopholes for the microbeads to be replaced with other kinds of plastics. The Story of Stuff Project is leading a coalition of over 100 groups to get these tiny plastic beads out of commerce. Ban the beads!

Photo courtesy of Macy's
True

Macy's and Girls Inc. believe that all girls deserve to be safe, supported, and valued. However, racial disparities continue to exist for young people when it comes to education levels, employment, and opportunities for growth. Add to that the gender divide, and it's clear to see why it's important for girls of color to have access to mentors who can equip them with the tools needed to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers.

Anissa Rivera is one of those mentors. Rivera is a recent Program Manager at the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc., a nonprofit focusing on the holistic development of girls ages 5-18. The goal of the organization is to provide a safe space for girls to develop long-lasting mentoring relationships and build the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to thrive now and as adults.

Rivera spent years of her career working within the themes of self and community empowerment with young people — encouraging them to tap into their full potential. Her passion for youth development and female empowerment eventually led her to Girls Inc., where she served as an agent of positive change helping to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Inspiring young women from all backgrounds is why Macy's has continued to partner with Girls Inc. for the second year in a row. The partnership will support mentoring programming that offers girls career readiness, college preparation, financial literacy, and more. Last year, Macy's raised over $1.3M for Girls Inc. in support of this program along with their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programming for more than 26,000 girls. Studies show that girls who participated are more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, score higher on standardized math tests, and be more equipped for college and campus life.

Thanks to mentors like Rivera, girls across the country have the tools they need to excel in school and the confidence to change the world. With your help, we can give even more girls the opportunity to rise up. Throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases or donate online to support Girls Inc. at Macys.com/MacysGives.

Who runs the world? Girls!

via Pixabay

Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo courtesy of Macy's
True

Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

Keep Reading Show less