Why Glitter Must Be Banned


Published:

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

All that glitters ain’t gold, or so the old adage goes. And when it comes to the glitter used in everyday cosmetics, specialty make-up, hair products and party paraphernalia, the negative effects on human health and the environment are indeed far from golden.

“They really do get into everything, and despite their tiny size, they can have a devastating impact on humans and non-human animals,” wrote Trisia Farrelly, a social anthropologist at Massey University in New Zealand and an expert in waste plastics, in an email to AlterNet.

Glitter is one member of a large family of microplastics—tiny little bits of plastic less than five millimeters in size. Think microbeads, microfibers and fingernail-sized fragments of much larger plastic wastes that have broken down over time. When washed or flushed away, microplastics make their way into our oceans and great lakes, slowly accumulating over time, creating all sorts of health and environmental hazards, the full breadth of which is still being grasped.

For one, there’s the issue of how microplastics like cosmetic glitter—made by bonding aluminum with polyethylene terephthalate (PET)—impact sensitive ecosystems. That’s because PETs leach out endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which, when eaten by marine life, can cause adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects, said Farrelly. In this recent study, microplastics are shown to significantly impact the reproduction rates of oysters.

Then there’s the domino-like effect of microplastics through the food-chain, for the sheer volume of microplastics consumed by seafood-loving humans is staggering. This study from the University of Ghent found that Europeans who eat shellfish can consume as much as 11,000 microplastics per year. But what are some of the long-term implications from glitter passing through the food-chain? 

PETs attract and absorb persistent organic pollutants and pathogens, adding an extra layer of contamination. When those at the bottom of the ladder—like molluscs, sea snails, marine worms, and plankton—eat pathogen or pollutant-carrying particles of glitter, these minuscule poison pills can concentrate in toxicity as they move up the food chain, all the way to our dinner plates, said Farrelly.

“When we eat Kai moana [Maori term for seafood], we are taking on these toxins,” she wrote. “When they enter the gut, the toxins and pathogens are very easily taken up.” 

A growing body of research is shining a light on the resulting effects of these toxins and pathogens on humans. Studies connect endocrine disrupting chemicals with marine and freshwater fish population collapses, as well as declines in sex ratios in human populations that live adjacent to plastic factories. 

All of which is prompting many marine experts and environmentalists to advocate for the same ban on glitter as there has been on microbeads—the tiny little balls of plastic used in things like exfoliating beauty products.

“At the rate we are going, there could be one pound of plastic for every three pounds of finfish in the ocean in the next ten years,” wrote Nick Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Program, in an email. “And unless action is taken, the problem is only going to get bigger.” 

At the end of 2015 after a sustained campaign at the state level, the Obama administration signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act, banning plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products. Other countries have subsequently followed suit. The U.K. and New Zealand announced their own prohibitions on microbeads earlier this year.

Importantly, these bans aren’t necessarily a reflection of the singular impact from microbeads. Rather, they’re a nod to a much wider understanding of the pervasiveness in the environment of microplastics in general, for the amount of microplastics entering the ocean alone is staggering. According to estimates made in 2014, there are between 15 and 51 trillion microplastic particles, weighing between 93 and 236 thousand metric tons, sitting in the world’s seas.

What’s more, their impacts are myriad.

number of studies have shown that tiny plastic particles have been detected in sea salts sold commercially. In an interview with the Guardian, Sherri Mason, a professor at the State University of New York at Fredonia who led one of these studies, described plastics as being “ubiquitous in the air, water, the seafood we eat, the beer we drink, the salt we use—plastics are just everywhere.” Microfibers have even been found in honey

Microplastic had also made their way into 83 percent of tap water samples from more than a dozen countries around the world including India, Lebanon, France and Germany, according to an investigation by Orb Media. The U.S. languished at the bottom of the pile, with plastic fibers appearing in 94 percent of samples.

But microplastics comprise only a fraction of the global plastic pollution problem. The world’s oceans are pockmarked, for example, with massive clusters of marine debris and plastics—the Great Pacific Garbage Patch found in the North Pacific Ocean proving to be the largest such gyre. According to the U.N., more than 8 million tons of plastic makes its way into the ocean each year—equal to a garbage truck of plastic dumped every minute.

Data shows that rapidly developing economies, where population growth and consumption are outpacing waste collection and recycling capacity, are responsible for the largest amounts of plastic wastes entering the oceans, said Nick Mallos. And he warned that, without intervention, growing economies would likely exacerbate these “unintended consequences of development spread.” Still, he remains optimistic.

“By raising awareness of the issue of ocean plastic,” Mallos wrote, “we can curb the flow through reduced consumption, improved waste management and innovative product and material solutions.”

Daniel Ross is a Los Angeles-based journalist whose work has appeared in AlterNet, The Guardian, FairWarning, Newsweek, and a number of other publications.

This article was republished from Alternet.

See also:
Cora Ball: Washing Fleece Without Guilt
How To Avoid Plastic Today

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

April 22, 2019

Right on schedule for Earth Day, the Taurus Sun’s annual conjunction with Uranus sets many people to thinking about our small planet. Under the influence of the egalitarian, visionary planet of eccentrics and geniuses, there’s no denying we are all in…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

April 2019

No Events

2nd and 4th Monday of every month This psychic message circle is for anyone wishing to raise their connection using their psychic centers known as the “clairs.” Learn how to use your...

Cost: $20

Where:
Messages From Heaven Healing and Learning Center
646 Central Street
Suite 3
Leominster, MA
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This bill would require licensure for more than 100 holistic healing modalities under the broad definition of “bodyworks" it contains — “Bodywork”,...

Where:
Massachusetts State House, Room 222
24 Beacon Street
Boston, MA
View map »


Contact Name: Rita Glassman

More information

Dreams are a psychic experience that everyone has. They have always fascinated people from the ancient world to the modern. In this class we will explore the power of dreams, how to use them to...

Cost: $30

Where:
Moth and Moon Studio
173 South River Road
Suite #4
Bedford, NH  03110
View map »


Sponsor: Moth and Moon Studio
Telephone: 603-782-3674
Contact Name: Danielle Dionne
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The symptoms may vary, but most women go through some physical and emotional changes during menopause that can range from mild to severe to downright debilitating. This class will explore why these...

Cost: $20

Where:
Open Circle Acupuncture & Healing
411 West Main Street, Suite 2R (rear of building)
Northborough, MA  01532
View map »


Sponsor: Open Circle Acupuncture & Healing
Telephone: 508-393-1212
Website »

More information

With Jonathan Glass, Ayurvedic practitioner. Presenting a 28-day program designed to initiate and maximize detoxification and nourishment of your body, mind and soul, inspiring results that can...

Where:
Concord, MA


Website »

More information

Discover how you can release tight muscles and improve range of motion in locked joints in a weekly ESSENTRICS stretch classes led by Raindrop Fisher, certified Essentrics instructor. Raindrop is a...

Cost: $10 drop-in / $100 for 12 classes

Where:
Village at Waterman Lake
Function Room - Chalet Bldg
715 Putnam Pike
Greenville, RI  02828
View map »


Sponsor: Healthier Fit Lifestyle
Telephone: 401-678-0950
Contact Name: Raindrop Fisher
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Reserve these Rally dates: March 28, April 11, Apr 25 Please join one or more of the Health Freedom Action Massachusetts (HFAMA) three Thursday rally days March 28, April 11 and April 25 at the...

Where:
Statehouse
Room 348
24 Beacon Street
Boston, MA  02133
View map »


Website »

More information

Anxiety can be an overwhelming experience, but it is rooted in primal logic. In this Neurosculpting workshop you will learn why your brain does what it does and how to rewire your subconscious...

Cost: $40—2 hours

Where:
BrainHckr @ Union Wellness
64 Union Square
Somerville, MA
View map »


Sponsor: BrainHckr
Telephone: 617-821-5560
Contact Name: Katie DiChiara
Website »

More information

In a time of deep divisiveness in our country, how do we remain true to our principles and also hold a spiritual commitment to loving our neighbors, even if they hold vastly different...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Heart’s Journey
196 Pleasant Street Suite 302
Northampton, MA  01060
View map »


Sponsor: The Heart's Journey
Telephone: 413-687-9951
Contact Name: Abriete Medore
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

What is Post-Traumatic Growth?    Who are you beyond the pain and trauma? Is it possible to befriend your old "stuff"? Experience how to create an energetic...

Cost: $45

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Telephone: 603-867-3969,
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
Website »

More information

Join me for this special event at my new space! Sound Journeying is an accessible way to explore meditation, relaxation and all the spaces in-between. Our soundscape will be created by Himalayan...

Cost: $20

Where:
Sri Healing Arts
464 Marlboro Rd.
Brattleboro, VT  05301
View map »


Sponsor: Sri Healing Arts
Contact Name: Sher Levesque
Website »

More information

 April 26–28, 2019 World Qigong Taichi Day is a day of free presentations, demonstrations and mini-classes offered by nationally recognized leaders of Taichi, Qigong, Chinese...

Cost: Free

Where:
Eastover Estate & Retreat
430 East Street
Lenox, MA  01240
View map »


Telephone: 866-264-5139
Website »

More information

April 26–28 Intuition + Energy Medicine + Energy Psychology = The REAP Healing Method This weekend intensive certification training course provides you with the understanding and the...

Where:
Dragonfly Wellness Center
176 Jackson Road
Devens, MA  01434
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

April 27–28 9:00am–5:30pm each day Taught by Leontine Hartzell Learn unique powerful healing methods of using multiple frequencies of light, vibration, sound, tone, sacred...

Cost: $375, early bird discount by March 1: $325 for Level I

Where:
Eye of the Eagle Center, private oceanside home
45 minutes north of Boston by rail or road
Gloucester, MA  01930
View map »


Sponsor: Leontine Hartzell
Telephone: 978-377-8948
Contact Name: Leontine Hartzell
Website »

More information

“Consciousness does not just passively reflect the objective material world; it plays an active role in creating reality itself.” — Stanislav Grof MD, from The Holotropic Mind...

Cost: $150, $175 after April 20th (see below for tickets)

Where:
First Congregational Church
43 Silver Street
Greenfield, MA  01301
View map »


Sponsor: Allen Howell, M.Ed. LMHC and Ellen Wolfe MS HTR
Website »

More information

Returning to the seacoast area for another delightful day to help support the Franco American Centre! Psychic readings, energy healing, marketplace and a great raffle! Free general...

Cost: Free general admission

Where:
The Hampton Inn & Suites
59 Portsmouth Ave.
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: Awakening Moments with Angie
Telephone: 603 321-4818
Contact Name: Angie D'Anjou
Website »

More information

With Nancy Smith Starts Saturday, April 27, 2019 Learn to anchor into the Akashic Energy of Creation through meditation and prayer. Open to the Akashic energy and the records of the universe...

Cost: $860 (Early Bird $770)

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Join us for our wellness fair at state of grace yoga. Mini-yoga classes and chair massage, Reiki and energy work, art, jewelry, beautiful retail shop, vendors. Revitalize yourself! More...

Cost: $10 donation for charity

Where:
State of Grace Yoga
Uxbridge, MA


Website »

More information

Instructor: Lisa Abbate, CHt Adult Level Embrace your goals and dreams and take action! Give yourself permission to want what your heart desires!  Afterall, there is no...

Cost: $85

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
View map »


Sponsor: Creative Spirit
Telephone: 781-797-0389
Website »

More information

Join in World Tai Chi & Qigong Day! Last Saturday of April each year at 10am worldwide. Hundreds of cities spanning 80 nations come together, to breathe together and provide a healing vision...

Cost: Free

Where:
Elm Park
Russell Street
Worcester, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Kung Fu & Tai Chi Academy of New England
Telephone: 774-321-6611
Contact Name: Sifu Gary
Website »

More information

In conjuction with the release of his new video series on Yoga Anytime, Internationally recognized instructor Robert Sidoti takes the concept of his latest yoga program off the screen and into the...

Cost: $40.00 in advance. $45 at door (if space is available)

Where:
KJ Fitness
1565 Main Street Unit D
Tewksbury, MA  01876
View map »


Sponsor: Relax and Recharge with Chuck
Contact Name: Chuck Raffoni
Website »

More information

Mediumship and card readings, $20 for 15 minutes, tuning forks and energy healing with Jeanne Perrault Proprietor—The Yoga Mat of Methuen, MA. Vendors include: homemade soaps, oils,...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rte 3A
Billerica, MA  01801
View map »


Sponsor: Spiritualist Fellowship Church of New England
Telephone: 781-287-9754
Contact Name: Chris
Website »

More information

Saturday, April 27, 10:30am–6:00pm and Sunday, April 28, 10:30am–5:30pm Dig at the roots of habits to weed out addictive habits and discover a deeper purpose in your life. with...

Cost: $295 early bird if paid by March 22nd ($325 after)

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Telephone: 603-867-3969
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
Website »

More information

With Trish Whynot, D.C.Ed.  Our goal for Mindful Goddess Retreats is to connect like-minded women with each other and with presenters who delight in the opportunity to expand your...

Cost: $149, $10 lunch voucher included

Where:
51 S. Main St.
Concord, NH
View map »


Telephone: (978) 314-4545
Contact Name: Trish Whynot, D.C.Ed.
Website »

More information

Eclectic-Fest is a day of celebration of creativity and spirituality. We have gathered some the most diverse vendors in the area to provide you with a great selection of good to bring home...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Taunton V.F.W.
82 Ingell Street
Taunton, MA  02780
View map »


Sponsor: Brother Granite
Telephone: 774-208-6195
Contact Name: Brother Granite

More information

6 weekends to become deeply connected to herbal medicine, food as medicine, product making, your health and more. $1395 includes lunch, field trips, herbal preparations, health coaching sessions...

Cost: $1395

Where:
, VT


Telephone: (802) 249-7551
Contact Name: Marie
Website »

More information

The 2019 Apprenticeship Program begins April 27 and meets one weekend a month through October. Students get hands-on experience making tinctures, teas, salves, oils, herbal sprays, and flower...

Where:
The Boston School of Herbal Studies
12 Pelham Terrace
Arlington, MA  02376
View map »


Sponsor: The Boston School of Herbal Studies
Telephone: 781-646-6319
Website »

More information

April 27–28 Join other like-minded seekers as we take a journey through the concepts of the new Earth paradigm, higher self and soul sovereignty, ascension mechanics, and spiritual alchemy.

Where:
Derry, NH


Telephone: (617) 366-6042
Website »

More information

Beginner Class: 4/27 (6:00-10:00 pm), 4/29 (7:00-10:00 pm), 4/30 (7:00-10:00 pm) Intermediate Class: 5/1, 5/2, 5/3 (7:00 – 10:00 pm) Tuition: None, but donation is appreciated for...

Where:
16 South Road
Bedford, MA  01730
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags