Oct 9, 2015

In the wake of the passage of the microbead ban, KQED released a story about it's potential hazards. As a science resource, Dr. Rebecca Sutton lent her expertise: "'Municipal wastewater systems were designed for our [bodily] waste and food waste, but they’re not engineered to handle tiny bits of plastics,' said Rebecca Sutton of the San Francisco Estuary institute. Upgrading waste treatment facilities to handle microbead waste would cost billions, and it wouldn’t necessarily be effective."

The NovaNext article on the PBS (KQED) site explored the consequences of flushing tons of this non-biodegradable material down the drain:

Although microbeads are only a small fraction of the plastic that ends up in the world’s oceans, their environmental impact bothers some scientists because they’re present in products that are designed to be poured down the drain. “This is why so many folks are focused on controlling plastic of the source,” Sutton said. “If we’re using less plastic and disposing of it properly, this won’t be so much of an issue.”


Kendra Pierre-Louis
Associated Staff: 
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Clean Water Program
Contaminants of Emerging Concern