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

This is one crazy life cycle.

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!

Heroes

Abigail Disney is the granddaughter of the late Roy Disney, the co-founder of the Walt Disney Co. Abigail herself does not have a job within the company, but she has made some public complaints about the way things are being run and how it is effecting the employees of the company.

Disney recently spoke on the Yahoo News show "Through Her Eyes," and shared a story of how a Magic Kingdom employee reached out to her about the poor working conditions at the theme park. So, Disney went to see for herself, and she did not like what she found.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Wellington District Police

Some animals have no respect for authority. Rogue penguins are disobeying the police in New Zealand, and they can't stop, won't stop.

Two little blue penguins were spotted at Sushi Bi near the Wellington railway station, allegedly trying to nest. The penguins had to cross through busy lanes of traffic running between the harbor and the sushi bar.

The dangerous duo was detained by the police, then released back into Wellington Harbour.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature

Netflix

How much of what we do is influenced by what we see on TV? When it comes to risky behavior, Netflix isn't taking any chances.

After receiving a lot of heat, the streaming platform is finally removing a controversial scenedepicting teen suicide in season one of "13 Reasons Why. The decision comes two years after the show's release after statistics reveal an uptick in teen suicide.

"As we prepare to launch season three later this summer, we've been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show. So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we've decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one," Netflix said in a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
Magnific Eye / Unsplash

Los Angeles is experiencing a homeless epidemic that was years in the making.

Over the past six years, the unhoused population in the city has risen 75 percent. The city's lack of homeless shelters and affordable housing has forced many who can't afford L.A.'s sky-high rents to live on the streets.

According to LAist, since 2000, renter incomes have decreased by 3 percent while rents have gone up 32 percent.

While the city has launched a $100 million-per-year program to help the problem, rapper, entrepreneur, and actor Jaden Smith has found his own way of responding to the crisis: love.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities