Scientists want to ban glitter, call it a 'global hazard'

Posted at 4:53 AM, Dec 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-01 06:34:53-05

PINELLAS CO., Fla. — Scientists are calling it a global hazard, and you can find it in many cosmetics. They're tiny and sparkly and making their way down drains all over the world.

"Manufactures of glitter, they know that they are creating them out of synthetic materials," said Lara Milligan, a natural resource agent with the UF IFAS extension in Pinellas. Her office is at the Brooker Creek Preserve in Pinellas County. Signs encouraging folks to look out for micro-beads are posted throughout the preserve.

It's considered a category of micro-plastic and is under the microscope - scientists saying they're a danger to our waterways and marine life. 

"Not only the particles themselves but the toxins within the plastic attaching to the plastics that can Leach into the tissues of the animals," said Milligan.

"It’s not going to hurt my feelings because it sticks to everything," said Doane Bailey, who thinks plastic is here to stay. "I don’t think you’re going to see a plastic-free society."

The push comes after a ban on micro-beads, exfoliating balls of plastic commonly found in face and body wash. Manufacturers were forced to stop putting them in products this year and by mid-2018, products containing micro-beads have to be off the shelves.

"Polyethylene is the word that would be on the ingredients label," said Milligan, who says folks need to be looking at their cosmetic labels just like they do with food labels. She also thinks folks need to start considering an alternative to glitter. 

"It’s a challenge but I would just encourage people to consider not doing glitter," she said. Craft glitter wouldn't be included. 

The county is encouraging folks to test water near their house - it’s super easy, rinse out the container three times with the water your testing. Then, move a few feet over and slowly slip the container parallel to the surface until it’s full. After that, QUICKLY put the cap back on to cut down on contaminants. You can pick a container at Brooker Creek Preserve

The UK is banning micro-beads next year and glitter in some cosmetics is included.