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Glitter is Bad For the Environment and Should Be Banned, Scientists Say

Glitter is a microplastic that is increasingly polluting oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams-- much like the environmentally hazardous plastic microbeads that were banned from cosmetics in 2015.

When I was growing up glitter was always jokingly referred to as “the herpes of arts & crafts”– but it turns out glitter’s pernicious quality of always sticking around no matter how many times you wash also makes it just as dangerous as those plastic microbeads in facewash and toothpaste that were banned because they caused ocean pollution.

According to a recent report by the New York Times, glitter is an environmental scourge that is polluting the ocean, lakes, rivers, streams, and other watersheds.

Because glitter is a microplastic, it runs the risk of polluting waterways just as any other microplastic (like microbeads) would, and while reps from the Marine Conservation Society and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) both told the Times that they were happy to see some UK scientists calling for a ban on glitter, it’s unclear yet whether such a ban would be entirely necessary (“That would possibly be a little bit draconian,” said Sue Kingsley, Senior Pollution Policy Officer at the Marine Conservation Society).

 

Still, the only people questioning the validity of the ban on glitter are those who seem to think it doesn’t go far enough: “Because it is a microplastic, we would have the same concerns as we would with any other microplastic that ends up in the environment,” Amy V. Uhrin, the chief scientist of NOAA’s Marine Debris Division, told the Times. 

We will update this post if and when glitter gets banned or regulated for environmental reasons. 

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