Beauty beads are the latest pollution threat to Great Lakes
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Tiny plastic beads from beauty products are showing up in North America's Great Lakes, and an environmental group is calling upon companies to stop using the plastic particles.
Scientists have already found the particles, known as microplastic, floating in the oceans but recently reported the same contamination in the largest surface freshwater system on the Earth. The particles are often less than a millimeter.
A team of researchers with 5 Gyres Institute, a non-profit California-based environmental activist group, collected samples from lakes Erie, Superior and Huron last summer and found large quantities of round, plastic pellets.
"They matched the same size, colour, texture and shape of the microbeads found in popular consumer products," said the group's executive director, Mr Marcus Eriksen. He said the group plans to publish the research in a peer-reviewed journal later this year.