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The items in question are plastic microbeads, and last week, Britain made good on a pledge to ban the manufacturing of personal care products containing them.
So what are these pellets, and what’s all the fuss about?
What are microbeads?
Microbeads are itty-bitty plastic orbs that can be found in exfoliating facial scrubs, shower gels and toothpaste, among other products. They are part of a larger class of microplastics, or pieces of plastic less than five millimeters, or 0.2 inch, long. (Roughly the size of a grain of rice.)
Microplastics exist elsewhere, too. They can be found in chewing gum, industrial cleaning products, synthetic clothing fibers and tires.
Why are they in cosmetics?
Manufacturers including Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble have advertised the exfoliating powers of microbeads, particularly in face and body scrubs.
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