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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey

Brushing with Beads

Feb 07, 2016 05:35PM
[dropcap]A[/dropcap] daily ritual that cleans your teeth and keeps your breath fresh could be wreaking havoc on our environment because of microbeads, minuscule polyethylene ‘plastic’ beads. These microbeads found in toothpaste do not dissolve before, during, or after their use, causing serious problems. Since a portion of the microbeads remains within the mouth, beads can become embedded underneath the gum line. Dentists and hygienists began to worry after finding microbeads stuck in crevices between the teeth and gums of their patients.  The beads could then trap bacteria in the gums leading to gingivitis, and possibly overtime cause periodontal disease.

These beads are not just bad for our dental health, but our waterways. Every time you brush, these tiny beads go down the drain, travel through sewers to a wastewater treatment plant, where they are too small to be filtered by the plants, and instead are discharged right into waterways. This problem caught the attention of advocacy groups and scientists, who have raised these concerns to elected officials. New Jersey’s Congressman Frank Pallone introduced the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which prohibits the sale or distribution of rinse-off cosmetics containing plastic microbeads. This bill was signed into law by President Obama in December 2015!

Although now banned, products containing microbeads will remain on the shelf until 2017. Until then it is up to us to be conscious shoppers. Read the ingredients list on the box carefully; if you see polyethylene or polypropylene on the list of ingredients it means that product contains microbeads. Luckily, there are plenty of other natural alternatives to keep your breath fresh, your teeth white, and your waterways healthy. Happy brushing!

Source: For more information on this issue contact Nicole Dallara at [email protected], call 732-872-0111, or visit CleanOceanAction.org.

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