Forget it, we give up. What’s the point anymore? Scientists are now calling glitter an environmental hazard that should potentially be banned.
Most glitter is made from aluminium and a plastic called PET. Microplastics are a threat to ocean life because their tiny size makes them look appetizing to whales and other marine animals. (Some estimates place the number of microplastics in the world’s ocean at up to 51 trillion fragments.)
“I was quite concerned when somebody bought my daughters some shower gel that had glitter particles in it,” marine biologist Richard Thompson told the Independent. “That stuff is going to escape down the plughole and potentially enter the environment.”
“I think all glitter should be banned,” says environmental anthropologist Trisia Farrelly, “When people think about glitter they think of party and dress-up glitter. But glitter includes cosmetic glitters as well. The more everyday kind that people don’t think about as much.”
Next year, the UK will institute a ban on microbeads, tiny plastic particles found in in hundreds of exfoliating body washes and facial scrubs. According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if glitter is incorporated into rinse-off cosmetics and personal care products, it will be covered by the ban.
In the U.S. Congress approved legislation phasing out microbeads from consumer products.
PET breaks down in the body and releases chemicals that can that disrupt hormones and have been linked to cancers and neurological disease.
“Start with microbeads, fine, but don’t stop there,” says Farrelly, a researcher at Massey University in New Zealand,. “It would be ridiculous to do so. It’s a no-brainer for glitter and microfibres, we have to stop producing them.”