PacSci-Doku: "Modern Pollution" Answer

By Dennis Schatz - Senior Vice President for Strategic Programs

The question in this edition is:

What may be in your toothpaste that adds to worldwide pollution?

The answer: Tiny Beads

Scroll down to see the solution.

How can toothpaste be a source of pollution? It is the tiny beads in some toothpaste and other toiletries that become pollutants in many waterways. Recent studies in the Great Lakes show that the tiny beads look like food for fish and end up in the guts of various marine organism. The impact on humans is still unknown, but because plastics degrade slowly they accumulate a coating of poisons, such as PCBs.

Waste treatment facilities are not designed to eliminate the tiny beads, so keeping them from getting into the waterways is a challenge. Many of the major cosmetics companies have promised to find an alternative to the beads, but that could take several years. Learn more about these tiny beads as pollutants.

Here is the solution:


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