Here’s Why Some Scientists Are Proposing a Global Glitter Ban
Kiss your favorite craft supply goodbye.
Now here’s the catch: microplastic accounts for a significant proportion of ocean pollution, and one 2014 study found that it made up about 92% of the estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic floating in seas around the world, according to Live Science. While most of the microplastics are small pieces that have broken off of originally larger objects, some blame can also be placed on our beloved glitter stash.
One problem with an ocean littered with microplastics is that marine life mistakes the tiny floating particles for food. One 2016 study in Science even found that larval fish in littered waters end up preferring to eat plastic rather than their natural prey. When fish eat stray glitter, it not only hurts the health and survival of the species, but it can also wind up on our own dinner plates.
RELATED: 8 Science-Backed Reasons to Read a (Real) Book
Considering the serious environmental damage microplastics (and in turn, glitter) pose to the environment, some scientists are going so far as to call for a global glitter ban. “I think all glitter should be banned, because it’s microplastic,” Trisia Farrelly, a senior lecturer at Massey University in New Zealand, told the Independent.
Although an official ban hasn’t gone into effect just yet, it’s not unprecedented. In 2015, former president Barack Obama signed off on a ban against another common microplastic: the microbeads found in many cosmetic and bath products. Production of all products containing microbeads was officially halted in July 2017.