facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Next pollutant worry: plastic microbeads

Jan. 25, 2014 at 5:10 PM   |   Comments

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Scientists in California are studying the effect of pollution in a tiny form -- plastic beads no larger than a salt grain found in numerous common products.

Marcus Eriksen of the non-profit 5 Gyres Institute said it took him less than 10 minutes with a small mesh net to find hundreds of the microbeads floating in the Los Angeles River. The beads, made of polyethylene and polypropylene, can be found in everything from facial cleansers to laundry detergent and other plastics.

Given their size the problem might be easy to overlook, Eriksen said. But the microbeads are absorbant, meaning they soak up pollutants as they're washed out to sea. Once there, they remain suspended in water and enter the food chain, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

"The scary thing is that the beads sponge up toxins, then get consumed by organisms from shellfish to crabs to fish" later eaten by humans, he said.

The group has begun petitioning companies to eliminate use of the non-biodegradable plastics and replace them with other natural items such as ground apricot pits.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV
2
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
3
Next-generation space suits will be like second skin Next-generation space suits will be like second skin
4
Report: Facebook Messenger app is loaded with spyware Report: Facebook Messenger app is loaded with spyware
5
'Finding Nemo' has some basis in science... some 'Finding Nemo' has some basis in science... some
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback