Why Do Scientists Want to Ban the ‘Global Hazard’ Known as Glitter?

Why Do Scientists Want to Ban the ‘Global Hazard’ Known as Glitter?

It’s the most notorious supervillain of the arts and crafts world.

Charming, but insidious, just one use will have you cleaning it off your carpets and random spots on your body for the rest of your days.

We’re of course talking about glitter.

As if glitter weren’t already annoying enough, it somehow gets worse: now, scientists believe it’s dangerous for the environment, too.

Most glitter is comprised of tiny bits of shiny plastic known as microplastics. These are a well-documented environmental hazard to the world’s oceans, and have become an especially debated topic in the United Kingdom. The UK has already implemented a ban on microbeads – a type of microplastic found in face washes, body scrubs and similar products – beginning next year. The US currently has a partial ban on microbeads, too.


Related: Nine in 10 Cancers are Caused by Environment: Study

The ban on microbeads prompted scientists to advocate against glitters, like the loose forms found in makeup and body products, which should be considered a similar hazard.

“I was quite concerned when somebody bought my daughters some shower gel that had glitter particles in it,” said Richard Thompson, a professor at Plymouth University who led a study examining how plastics affected marine environments.

“That stuff is going to escape down the plughole and potentially enter the environment.”

When microplastics enter marine environments, their pollution leaks chemicals into the water, putting marine life that digests it at risk.

Dr. Trisia Farrelly, an environmental anthropologist at Massey University in New Zealand, simply says “all glitter should be banned.”

For those of you sickos that can’t live without the shiny stuff, you can still punish yourself with environmentally friendly alternatives that are biodegradable, meaning they won’t contaminate or clog waterways.

Photo Credit: Guschenkova/Shutterstock.com; tomertu/Shutterstock.com

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