Microbeads threaten Great Lakes
By The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, 7:21 p.m.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — An organization representing more than 100 cities in the United States and Canada asked federal and industry officials on Tuesday for action on the recently discovered problem of “microplastic” pollution in the Great Lakes.
During the past two years, scientists have reported finding thousands of plastic bits — some visible only under a microscope — in the lakes that make up almost one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water.
Scientists believe some are abrasive “microbeads” used in personal care products such as facial and body washes, deodorants and toothpaste. They're so minuscule that they flow through screens at waste treatment plants and wind up in the lakes, where fish and aquatic birds might eat them, mistaking them for fish eggs. They could absorb toxins as well.
“Even though you cannot see them, they pose a very real threat to human and wildlife health,” said John Dickert, mayor of Racine, Wis., and secretary-treasurer of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.
The group sent letters to the Environmental Protection Agency and its counterpart, Environment Canada, asking what they plan to do about the problem. David Ullrich, the organization's executive director, acknowledged it could take years to develop a crackdown on microplastics.
In the meantime, his group is sending letters to 11 companies that use microplastics, asking them to switch to biodegradable alternatives. Some are doing so. Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson have said they'll phase out microbeads, and L'Oreal said it won't develop products that include them.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Obama administration delays decision on Keystone XL pipeline
- Medicaid paid $12M for Illinois dead, audit finds
- Colorado deaths stoke marijuana worries
- Grandmother left vengeful note in boys’ slayings, then committed suicide, police say
- Iranian envoy officially blocked by law
- Judge strikes down Minnesota’s anti-coal law as unconstitutional
- Health insurance subsidies under Obamacare to cost slightly less than previously thought
- Recovery expert believes wreckage of missing plane located
- Wyatt Earp gun sells for $225K at auction
- Records exonerate ‘X-Men’ director, attorney says
- SpaceX supply ship makes Easter cargo delivery to space station