Evidence of microbeads from personal care product contaminating the sea

Plastic microbeads in personal care products have been identified as a source of marine pollution. Yet, their existence in the environment is rarely reported. During two surface manta trawls in the coastal waters of Hong Kong, eleven blue, spherical microbeads were captured. Their sizes (in diameters) ranged from 0.332 to 1.015 mm. These microbeads possessed similar characteristics in terms of colour, shape and size with those identified and extracted from a facial scrub available in the local market. The FT-IR spectrum of the captured microbeads also matched those from the facial scrub. It was likely that the floating microbeads at the sea surface originated from a facial scrub and they have bypassed or escaped the sewage treatment system in Hong Kong. Timely voluntary or legislative actions are required to prevent more microbeads from entering the aquatic environment.

Pui Kwan Cheung, Lincoln Fok, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 109, Issue 1, 15 August 2016, Pages 582–585

The article


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