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Microbeads from cleansers harming the Sound

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NEW HAVEN--Your health is possibly being hindered in favor of beauty.

Dr. Vincent Breslin, an oceanography professor at SCSU, tells Fox CT that people are likely ingesting the microbeads found in exfoliating cleansers and lotions.

Breslin and his students have been taking samples of the Long Island Sound, looking to see what pollutants are impacting the environment.

"We want to understand what the problem pollutants are," he said.

And they found what they expected to--little plastic, sac-like microbes that matched the beads found in facial cleansers and soaps.

Breslin said, "We in fact did find some of the beads, and the sizes, and the colors and the shapes of those beads directly matched the kinds of beads that are added into these products.

The role of the beads is to exfoliate the skin, using the texture to rub off any dead skin cells.

The problem, Breslin said, is that "the beads in these products don’t necessarily burst," which means they aren't dissolving and are instead ending up in the water supply.

"When you wash your hands or you wash your face, and you rinse that in the sink, that water goes from the sink in the home to the waste water treatment plants in the area, and often times that simply gets discharged out into the Long Island Sound," Breslin said.

The worst part? The beads are plastic, and aren't biodegradable, so they can sit in the water for eternity without breaking down, extending the amount of time a fish has to eat it before being caught and sold at the supermarket or in a restaurant.

Connecticut is taking action, and legislation has been introduced to ban products that use microbeads. However, it will be several years before the measure would be passed, if it even is. If and when Connecticut bans microbeads, it may not even be enough; New York borders the other side of the Sound, and unless they too pass legislation, the waters may still be polluted.

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