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Why Do Scientists Want to Ban Glitters Use?


Glitter may be sparkly, but reports show it also has a dark side.

These tiny particles are making their way into water sources, leading scientists to call a complete ban on glitter saying it is causing an environmental disaster.

Because glitter is so small, marine life is mistaking it for food, which in turn is damaging their livers and affecting their behavior functions.

And every tiny sparkly bit takes thousands of years to break down.

Dr. Trisia Farrelly of New Zealand’s Massey University told CBS News in 2017, ‘I think all glitter should be banned because it’s microplastic.’

‘Producers should not get away with making a profit out of the production of disposable, single-use plastics, while bearing little responsibility for the damage.’

The US and UK have taken steps towards banning glitter, by outlawing cosmetics and care products containing microbeads.

The move is aimed at protecting the marine environment from one source of plastic pollution, as microbeads are washed down the drain and can enter the seas and be swallowed by fish and crustaceans with potentially harmful effects.

And now they are calling a ban on glitter for similar reasons.

Glitter is made from tiny pieces of plastic — making it as bad for the environment as the toxic microbeads.

Typically, it consists of a layer of plastic, a thin colored layer and a reflective layer — often made of aluminium.

These are bonded into a thin sheet, then cut into tiny shapes.

Considering how difficult it is to clean glitter up in a home after using it for arts and crafts, it may not be a surprise of the mess it can make in our oceans.

The reason for the ban is that glitter is made of a polymer called polyethylene terephthalate (PET), or Mylar, and winds up in landfills or washed down drains – eventually making it to water sources.

These microplastics account for 92.4 percent of the total 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic floating around in the ocean.

There, the particles can absorb chemicals and pollutants, making them ever more toxic.

And every tiny sparkly bit takes thousands of years to break down.

Like other microplastics, they may be consumed by plankton, which are eaten by fish — meaning they enter the food chain and could end up back on your dinner plate.

There’s no way to keep glitter out of the food we eat.

Alarming levels of microplastic contamination have also been found in tap water.

The Royal Society of Chemistry said: ‘There is a need to change the way plastic is viewed by society: from ubiquitous, disposable waste to a valuable, recyclable raw material, much like metal and glass.’

‘It’s hoped this will increase the economic value of plastic waste in a circular economy.’


This story was originally published on


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