Why some scientists are throwing shade about glitter.

It's fun to make glittery holiday cards with the kids. Or without the kids. I don't know. Don't judge me.

But if you've ever worked with glitter, you know cleanup can be a mess. If it gets on your hands, it can take ages (or some fancy tricks) to wash it all off.

This is just my hand now. Photo from frankieleon/Flickr.


But once it's finally off your hands, where does that glitter go? Down the drain, probably. And some scientists aren't very happy about that.

Not very happy about that at all.

"I think all glitter should be banned," Trisia Farrelly of New Zealand's Massey University told CBS.

The problem? "It's microplastic," says Farrelly.

"Microplastic" is the name for the tiny, virtually indestructible pieces of plastic pollution that often find their way into our lakes, oceans, and even our drinking water.

And once they get into the water supply, they can choke or poison sea life. Even tiny plankton have been found nibbling on them.

Besides arts and crafts, glitter is also found in many cosmetics, such as nail polish or shampoos. Photo from an_photos/Pixabay.

Glitter isn't the only source of microplastics. The majority come from larger plastic objects breaking down into smaller pieces. They can also come from the microbeads found in many body washes and shampoos. In fact, the United States has a partial ban on microbeads — manufacturers were supposed to stop putting them in rinse-off cosmetics back in July.

Now that microbeads are getting the boot, it makes sense that people are giving glitter some side-eye. A handful of nurseries in the United Kingdom have already made the stuff verboten.

The good news is that if your heart is really set on that shimmery holiday card or looking fierce on New Year's, there are already non-micro-plasticky options open to you. Yes, biodegradable glitter is a thing.

Listen, glitter is amazing. No one is denying that. But with great shiny power, comes great shiny responsibility. Sparkle safely this holiday season.

Heroes


Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

Keep Reading Show less
Packard Foundation
True

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Amy Johnson

The first day of school can be both exciting and scary at the same time — especially if it's your first day ever, as was the case for a nervous four-year-old in Wisconsin. But with a little help from a kind bus driver, he was able to get over his fear.

Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.

"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change," his bus driver, Isabel "Izzy" Lane, told WEAU.

The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.

"He started to cling to me and I told him, 'Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!'" Johnson told Fox 7.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared