Procter & Gamble Removes Microbeads From Toothpastes, Still Insists They’re Safe

microbeadsMicrobeads are little plastic beads that appear in face washes, toothpastes, and other personal-care items. They aren’t so beautiful for America’s waterways, where the tiny beads could end up in the stomachs of the fish and fowl we like to gaze at and eat. Some lawmakers want the beads banned, but Procter & Gamble is the latest personal-care products company to dump them voluntarily.

One person who consumers can thank for this change is dental hygienist Trish Walraven in Phoenix, who started noticing little blue beads embedded in her patients’ gums. She wrote a widely-circulated blog post about the effects of microbeads, noting that microbeads embedded in your gums could be dangerous, and not a harmless whitening tool.

“They’ll trap bacteria in the gums which leads to gingivitis, and over time that infection moves from the gum into the bone that holds your teeth, and that becomes periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is scary,” a Phoenix-area dentist (not Walraven’s employer) told CNN.

Procter & Gamble has announced that they will remove all microbeads from their products by 2016, and that they’ll be gone from most of their toothpastes within a few months. In a statement to one TV news station, the company explained:

While the ingredient in question is completely safe, we understand there is a growing preference for us to remove the ingredient. So we will.

To double-check your dentifrice of choice, look for polyethylene on the label.

P&G dropping microbeads ahead of lawmaker action [Bloomberg News]

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