Your toothpaste and face scrub probably get their scrubbing power from tiny plastic beads contained within. In Episode 10 of Speaking of Chemistry, Lauren K. Wolf talks about these polyethylene “microbeads” and why environmental scientists and dentists alike are nervous about them getting into lakes, rivers, and your gums.
If this episode leaves you wanting more, read the sources below. Speaking of Chemistry is a production of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society.
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Microplastic Beads Pollute Great Lakes
C&EN Volume 91 Issue 37 | pp. 23-25
Issue Date: September 16, 2013
Drawing a Bead On Microbeads
C&En Volume 92 Issue 24 | p. 6
Issue Date: June 16, 2014
Plastic Pollution Harms Marine Life
C&En Volume 91 Issue 49 | p. 8
Issue Date: December 9, 2013