Some of your fave beauty products probably have microbeads—those tiny, smooth, plastic balls that are said to help exfoliate your skin. They're most often found in face and body wash, but not for long! The US senate just passed a bill to phase out microbeads by 2017, and you'll really appreciate the icky reason.
CBS News reports that microbeads are devastating to both wildlife AND human health. That's because after the beads are washed down the drain, they soak up chemicals. By the time they get to the ocean, they are full of toxins. Fish eat them thinking they are food and ingest the toxins. You can probably guess what happens next! Those toxins end up on your plate if you eat fish. Yuck.
While 2017 seems far away, many cosmetic companies have already started phasing out plastic beads, according to Jezebel. Lezlee Westine, president and chief executive officer of the Personal Care Products Council, told WWD about the current changes that are already starting to happen, saying: "We applaud today's U.S. Senate passage of the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which creates a planned and pragmatic national phase-out process in the interest of both consumers and the personal-care products and cosmetics industry."
So, how can you help in the meantime? Look for products with natural scrubs, like oatmeal or jojoba bead granules. I love Burt's Bees Peach & Willow Bark Deep PoreScrub for their non-plastic exfoliators that won't harm you or the environment.
This article originally appeared on Seventeen.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.