Glitter: A Global Hazard That Has Scientists Pushing for Its Ban

Concern rises as scientists stress the harmful impacts of glitter and other microplastics on the environment.

Scientist Warn Of The Harmful Impacts Of Glitter NAS CREATIVES/Shutterstock

All crafting enthusiasts and makeup gurus know there is a price to pay when using glitter. Yes, it is dazzling and theatrical but with one use, comes lots of damage control—expect an impossible-to-clean mess in any inconvenient crevice. So what does that chaos mean on a larger scale? Microplastics—the essence of glitter which consists of small pieces plastic are making headlines as scientist warns of the environmental dangers they present. 

Scientist's main concern right now is the effect that glitter and other similar materials such as microbeads found in cleansers and toothpaste have had on the world's marine environments.

According to the EPA, "It is estimated that approximately 90% of the plastics in the pelagic marine environment are microplastics." 

Thankfully, change is already being implemented in the United Kingdom, whose ban on microbeads took action this year, while America maintains a partial ban—but there is still plenty to be done. Glitter—both loose and in makeup, has yet to be held to the same standards as microplastics although they contribute to the marine pollution problem. 

Are you washing your face, body and teeth with plastics? Do you know the tiny particles present in exfoliating products are PLASTIC? They are called #microbeads Microbeads may be small but they are causing big problems for our environment and our health! These tiny particles of plastic used in personal care products are designed to go down the drain and into our lakes, rivers and oceans by the billions everyday. They absorb toxins in the water, are eaten by marine life and can make their way up the food chain all the way to our dinner plates! Are you unknowingly contributing to water contamination? Check your products for microbeads! #maketheswitch More about it on the blog! Link in bio! Source: Story of stuff! #banthebead #banmicrobeads #microplastics #savetheoceans #plasticfreeoceans #plasticfree #ecoliving #greenliving #chemicalfree #thelesswasteway #ouroceans #lifewithoutplastics #stopplasticpollution #bethechange

A post shared by thelesswasteway (@thelesswasteway) on Oct 24, 2017 at 2:28am PDT

As a result of the pollution in our waters, animals are not only caused physical distress and death, but marine wildlife is mistaking the tiny pieces of plastic for food, which impacts growth and reproduction. This not only has the power to alter ecosystems, but these particles are now being found in seafood meant for human consumption. 

According to, "There is a need to change the way plastic is viewed by society: from ubiquitous, disposable waste to a valuable, recyclable raw material, much like metal and glass. It’s hoped this will increase the economic value of plastic waste in a circular economy."

Thankfully, not all hope is lost for the glitter obsessed. BBC reports that eco-glitter, made from eucalyptus tree extract and aluminum is the latest groundbreaking alternative to the highly popular microplastic. 

As the efforts to create a cleaner world continues, it is important to think about how you can do your part at home. Our fairy princess daughters can be a part of the solution without compromising on the fun. By avoiding products that maintain microbeads and replacing your classic glitter with its biodegradable counterpart, you can take pride in making a better world for your kids to grow up in.