Scrubbing Out Sea Life
EXFOLIATING PLASTIC BEADS FEEL GOOD—UNLESS YOU LIVE IN THE OCEAN.
By Hillary Rosner
Posted Monday, June 16, 2008, at 2:45 PM ET
Is your exfoliant harming marine life?
A smiling model glides, mermaidlike, through a lush underwater garden. Undulating ribbons of something resembling kelp rise from the sea floor, and tiny enchanting pearl-like beads bubble up though the aquamarine water. Polish your troubles away with Olay Body Wash Plus Spa Exfoliating Ribbons, the subject of this commercial, and you too might feel as if you're floating through a luxurious Atlantis.
The trouble is, the more you exfoliate, the less Edenic that underwater realm becomes for the creatures who live there. That's because the exfoliating ingredient in Olay's body wash, and in most similar big-brand products (such as Dove Gentle Exfoliating Foaming Facial Cleanser and Clean & Clear Daily Pore Cleanser), is actually made out of plastic: tiny particles of polyethylene that scrub the dirt from your face and then wash straight down the drain and into watersheds and, eventually, oceans.
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