Whether you’re using it to make your kids’ artwork sparkle, to make your beauty routine shine, or to make your own DIY pop, glitter seems like harmless fun. But scientists are now calling for glitter and glitter products to be banned, citing that its environmental impact is extraordinarily damaging.
It might not seem like it, but most glitter is actually made of plastic. The small size of these plastic particles makes it a “microplastic,” which is a potential ecological hazard, particularly in bodies of water.
Microplastics are fragments of plastic less than 5 millimeters in length, which makes them the perfect size to be consumed by marine animals. This can not only be fatal to the ocean creatures consuming it, but these microplastics can then end up in seafood that we’re consuming.
Some estimates believe around 51 trillion fragments of microplastic are currently floating in the oceans.
And it’s not just pure glitter from craft stores that’s the issue – glitter is found in plenty of products, particularly health/cosmetic products marketed towards girls and women.
“I was quite concerned when somebody bought my daughters some shower gel that had glitter particles in it,” said Professor Richard Thompson, whose study found that plastic was found in a third of UK-caught fish. “That stuff is going to escape down the plughole and potentially enter the environment.”
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