Ah, glitter. Perhaps you see it as the STD of the crafting world, a constant reminder of projects completed or greeting cards received that never, ever leaves your carpet. Or maybe you see the shiny ingredient as something that brings unending joy to your kids. Chances are, it’s both. But now, scientists around the world are calling for a ban on the sparkly substance, claiming it’s a hazard for the environment.
Glitter falls under the category of microplastics. Defined as plastics less than five millimeters in length, the minuscule materials are commonly found in body washes, face soaps, and other such products. The category is under high scrutiny from the scientific community because of how easily they can pass through water filtration systems and pollute waterways.
Of particular concern is that the tiny particles are ingested by fish and birds. One UK study led by researcher Richard Thompson found that nearly a third of fish caught in the Great Britain area had plastics in their bodies.
“I think all glitter should be banned, because it’s microplastic,” Dr. Trisia Farrelly, an environmental anthropologist at Massey University, told The Independent.
The UK is moving to drastically ban the use of microplastics and scientists are calling for countries around the world to do the same. In 2015, Congress passed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 which, among other things, says that the manufacturing of all rinse-off cosmetics with microbeads needs to cease by July 1st, 2017 and that they need to stop being sold by July 1st 2018. However, legislation has not been passed specifically regarding glitter.
If the prospect of not being able to use glitter in crafts depresses your kid, fear not. There are environmentally friendly brands of glitter, including BioGlitz. BioGlitz is a biodegradable, non-plastic glitter made out of plants. It’s totally sustainable, looks and feels like regular, plastic-based glitter, comes in a ton of different colors, and isn’t animal tested. Their tagline is “Shine Responsibly,” although it probably could be “You Will Never Escape Glitter, Even if You Try.”