These pollute the oceans and damage marine life.These tiny pieces of plastic are used to add glitter to products or to act as exfoliants. When fish eat these they can’t digest them and starve as the plastic artificially fills up the fish’s stomach.
Tesco is auditing all its branded bathroom products that contain micro-beads or micro-plastics to encourage manufacturers to remove them.
President Obama has already come under pressure to ban them.
The Sunday Times (ST) discovered that the plastic is also found in children’s toothpaste and other children’s products such as the Frozen range hair detangler and Disney Princess shower wash.
Greenpeace says that most people in the UK would support a ban. The plastic in exfoliants could be replaced by natural products such as sea salt or oatmeal.
It’s not just Tesco products; Johnson & Johnson facial scrub, Superdrug‘s tea tree skin care, Bliss body scrub, and Arm & Hammer toothpaste also contain microbeads.
Microplastics make up 85% of the plastic in the environment which includes degraded carrier bags as well as bathroom waste from beauty products.
Although some are visible to the naked eye many are too small to be removed by water filtration.
Tesco has promised to remove all microbeads from products by 2017. Arm & Hammer says they are only in its Truly Radiant toothpaste and they are looking for a safe alternative. Johnson & Johnson, Bliss and Superdrug have all promised to remove microbeads from their products. H&A, the company that makes the Disney products didn’t respond to a request from the ST for a comment.