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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!

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

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Putting creative work out into the world to be evaluated and judged is nerve-wracking enough as it is. Having to market your work, especially if you're not particularly extroverted or sales-minded, is even worse.

So when you're a newly published author holding a book signing and only two of the dozens of people who RSVP'd show up, it's disheartening if not devastating. No matter how much you tell yourself "people are just busy," it feels like a rejection of you and your work.

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The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn't have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women's rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn't something we'd choose—and we'd hope others wouldn't choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

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