Health & beauty

Is Your Cleanser Killing Dolphins?

Find out why environmental activists want you to stop exfoliating

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Wrap your head around this stat: a single tube of face scrub might contain more than 300,000 tiny, non-biodegradable plastic micro-beads. Now, think about where your water goes when you're done washing. Along with the dead skin you're sloughing down the drain when you exfoliate, some wastewater is dumped into lakes and oceans. And, because what goes around comes around, guess where those beads turn up? Inside marine animals and the fish and seafood we eat, according to 5 Gyres, a California-based environmental group.

Nice, huh?

5 Gyres is pushing an aggressive call to action, asking retailers to stop selling products with plastic micro-beads, demanding that manufacturers discontinue the ingredient, and asking the public to boycott all products with plastic micro-beads.

The environmental efforts are paying off: Unilever (maker of Dove, Vaseline, and Ponds) has promised to phase out the use of plastic micro-beads as scrub materials by 2015.

How do you know if a scrub contains plastic micro-beads? Check the ingredient list. If you see "polyethylene" listed, they're in there.

Tell us: Do you think environmentalists are making a mountain out of micro-beads, or will you boycott scrubs that contain the teeny bits of plastic?

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