An array of skin care cleansers on the market promise to exfoliate and unclog pores. Some of these skin-scrubbing products contain tiny beads of plastic scattered through a gel or creamy paste. After washing with these cleansers, consumers rinse the soapy stuff—along with its teeny spheres—down the drain, giving nary a thought to what happens to the plastic bits, which are less than 1 mm in diameter.
Now, researchers are finding plastic microbeads in the Great Lakes. They say the miniscule spheres could harm aquatic animals that mistake them for food. Perhaps more ominously, they worry that the plastic balls could help transfer toxic pollutants from the Great Lakes to the food chain, including fish that people eat.
And this from Michigan State University:
Microplastics are a common finding among ocean researchers, and are troublesome because they can act as a sponge for pollutants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). They can also directly harm aquatic organisms, as when fish mistake these particles for food. So are Great Lakes fish eating plastic? The Ohio Department of Natural Resources fisheries researchers have found plastic in yellow perch during their ongoing diet analysis studies.