Microbeads in the News

Despite their tiny size, microbeads have been getting big attention lately.

Microbeads are tiny non-biodegradable spheres of plastic (polyethylene) that can be found in exfoliating products such as face washes and soaps, but can also be in products such as chewing gum and toothpaste.  People are wondering…are microbeads safe?  The American Dental Association (ADA) evaluates and places a seal of acceptance on approved oral health products.  At this time the ADA seal can be found on toothpastes containing microbeads.

According to a statement made by the ADA “The American Dental Association’s (ADA) Council on Scientific Affairs, on an ongoing basis, monitors and evaluates the safety of all ADA Seal-Accepted products.  If the council’s evaluation determines sufficient scientific evidence exists that an ADA Seal Accepted product poses a health risk, the council has the authority to withdraw the Seal from that product.  At this time, clinically relevant dental health studies do not indicate that the Seal should be removed from toothpastes that contain polyethylene microbeads.”

While there is no scientific evidence that indicates these microbeads pose a risk to oral health, the possible environmental impact is worth considering.  Microbeads are so small they can pass through wastewater treatment plants and potentially have adverse effects when entering our lakes and rivers.

To read the entire ADA statement on polyethylene microbeads in toothpaste visit ADA.org.