Why scientists are calling for a total ban on glitter


Marriage Survey Envelope glitter scientists

It’s sparkly, sticky, spreads everywhere, and it’s a huge effort to clean up after festivals and parties. Now some scientists have called for a total ban on glitter, calling it an environmental hazard.

Most glitter is made from a type of plastic called PET, and the tiny fragments pose a threat to ocean life because the pieces look appetising and can subsequently end up inside humans after consuming seafood.

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“I was quite concerned when somebody bought my daughters some shower gel that had glitter particles in it,” marine biologist Richard Thompson told The Independent.

“That stuff is going to escape down the plughole and potentially enter the environment.”

In 2018, the UK will ban “microbeads”, the tiny plastic particles found in in many exfoliating cosmetics. Microbeads are also being phased out in the US.

Trisia Farrelly, an environmental anthropologist at New Zealand’s Massey University, has researched how PET can break down and release chemicals into the bodies of humans and animals.

She told The Independent she thinks all glitter should be banned.

“When people think about the product they think of party and dress-up glitter, but glitter includes cosmetic glitters as well,” she said.

She said a ban on “microbeads” was a good start but manufacturers needed to start producing “safer, non-toxic, durable alternatives” to plastic glitter to offer consumers.

“It’s a no-brainer for glitter and microfibres, we have to stop producing them,” she said.

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