Thursday, October 15, 2015

Just One Word - Plastics

The new pollution concern everywhere, but including the Chesapeake Bay is plastic microbeads:  Pa. holding out on plastic microbead legislation
Microbeads — tiny plastic microspheres — are cleaning your teeth and your face, but scientists say they might also be polluting the water supply.

Used in hundreds of products including face washes, toothpastes and cosmetics, microbeads are designed to be discarded down the drain, but wastewater treatment plants are not able to completely filter out the microplastic, with an estimated 8 trillion microbeads emitted into U.S. aquatic habitats per day, according to a recently published study in the Environmental Science and Technology Journal.
Yeah, they're really small, micro even, and there are a lot of them, but they're really small. So what?
Harry Campbell, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Pennsylvania office, said scientists don't yet know the full extent of the microbead issue, but the microplastic materials are prevalent at a growing rate in most national bodies of water, including the Chesapeake Bay.

"The simplest solution is to start at the source, which are consumer and personal care products," Campbell said.

Several states have already moved toward eliminating microbeads, as Illinois, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maine, Maryland, and Wisconsin have all passed legislation to regulate or ban the microplastic.
So we don't really know if they do anything bad, be we need to ban them (or at least use them to justify more research, more activism, and more control over industry.

I'm not much concerned with plastic microbeads in the environment. Plastics are mostly not terribly reactive chemically. The world is full of small particles that are not terribly reactive. We call it "sediment" or "dirt."

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