And just like that… microbeads are banned!

R.I.P., nasty little microbeads. We thought the battle to destroy you might get arduous. But hurray!  President Obama just banned you. ‘Tis great news to start 2016!

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We just talked about them in our last post about microplastics, where we clarified the role of micro-beads and plastics that breaks down in the ocean.  (During the Green Coconut Run, we’ve been gathering samples of micro-plastics for ASC, short for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation)

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Sabrina collecting micro-plastic samples in Baja’s Bahia Magdalena for ASC, April 2015. Green Coconut Run. 

An estimated 8 trillions micro-beads enter U.S. waterways every day says Environmental Science & Technology.

“We’re facing a plastic crisis and don’t even know it,” says Stephanie Green, a co-author of the study.Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 10.25.07 PM

Microbeads became a big deal when people saw their effect on the Great Lakes. Consumers didn’t even know that plastic was being used in our cosmetics and health care products – microbeads were surreptitiously used as exfoliants.

After application on our bodies, the microbeads get washed down the drain, and may ultimately be eaten by fish. A UC Davis study found that 1/4 of fish found in California markets had ingested plastic.

Still a bit fuzzy on how it works?  Here’s a great video about the life cycle of micro beads:

Hurray for science leading to decisions that keep our waterways clean!  All the more reason for Green Coconut Run and ocean enthusiasts to collaborate with ASC, and crowdsource information that scientists can use.

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