Seriously…Plastic Beads In My Child’s ToothPaste?

Crest For MeNothing makes me crazier than huge corporations putting unsavoury ingredients in products marketed specifically for children.  There is no excuse.

I recently read an article on-line written by a mom/dental hygienist, alerting consumers about the use of plastic beads in tooth paste. The product specifically portrayed in the article was Crest’s ToothPaste For Me which promises to ‘Get The Gunk’ out for kids between 8 and 12 years old.  However, dental hygienists are finding the plastic beads are getting in and staying in…under gums. That sounds like putting ‘gunk’ into children’s mouths and I’m not ok with it.

Polyethylene does not break down, it is not biodegradable. So unless your hygienist can find and remove these beads, they will stay there. And what parent of a child wants to have their child go through having plastic microbeads fished out from under their gums?

I have to wonder why Procter and Gamble ever put plastic in any toothpaste, let alone one specifically for children? On their website, it is confirmed that the blue microbeads are added for colour. So kids are getting plastic microbeads stuck under their gums for COLOUR?

To find out if your product contains polyethylene, take a look at the Inactive Ingredients part of your toothpaste label. As well, the Skin Deep Database confirms specific Crest products reported to be using polyethylene beads.

Unfortunately my husband had just bought one of these Crest For Me toothpastes for our 8 year old.   Upset I actually owned one of these products, I called the company to voice my concern. They assured me PE is safe and is used in food packaging.  I asked if they had done any studies on kids health if plastic sits under their gums for years undetected? No surprise that I didn’t get a direct answer to that one.  Or do they know the impact is of kids having dental tools stuck up their gums to retrieve the beads? I just cringe thinking about it.

In my upset over my child having plastic beads in her toothpaste,  I didn’t even mention to P & G, how these beads are polluting our Great Lakes. Feel free to mention that point if you call.

Procter and Gamble can be reached at (800) 959-6586  or send an e-mail comment to them here

8 Things You Should Know About Common Household Plastics


Plastics are everywhere. They are used everything from building materials to shower curtains. Mass production of plastics was born out of a desire to make cheap, durable goods. Sadly, some plastics are now known to be toxic to human health as well as damaging to the environment. Here are some facts about plastics which may make you re-think your use of them.

1) Polyvinyl Chloride is toxic. PVC is very commonly used as its cheap to manufacture and allows for plastic to be pliable. So chances are you come in contact with PVC much too often. Look for recycling code #3 and avoid where you can. PVC is commonly used in children’s backpacks, rain gear, and school supplies such as 3-ring binders. Check this very informative list that gives non-PVC options for products kids typically take to school. And good to note that a #7 recycling code is ‘everything else’. Some drinking bottles made with this #7 ‘mystery’ plastic have recently been found to contain BPA.

2) Children’s toys contain PVC. In fact, the iconic kiddie toy, the rubber ducky has become a symbol of a toys made with toxic materials.  Apparently many toys do contain at least some PVC as no alternative suitable material to PVC has been found… claim at least a few of the giant toy manufacturers. And some parents are not taking this lightly creating petitions asking for change.

3) Although ALL plastics have some degree of negative environmental impact, know that the least toxic (based on containing no PVC) commonly used plastics are believed to be low density polyethylene and polypropylene. Recycling codes #4 and #5 respectively will allow you to easily identify these.

4) Saran food wrap (a Dow Chemical product) was once made of PVC but due to health concerns is now reported to made of polyethylene which is apparently much more permeable to oxygen than it ever was, so doesn’t keep your food as fresh.  So really what’s the point of it? Best to avoid all non-biodegradable plastic wrap altogether and use good quality, re-usable food containers made without toxins. I use lined, fabric sandwich bags for my kids lunches and have been pleasantly surprised and glass or stainless for leftovers in my fridge.

5) Plastics are being used in exfoliating face and body washes.  So hard to believe that anyone ever thought it was a good idea to put microscopic plastic beads in body care products.  Now the Great Lakes and other waterways are suffering for it. And the issue persists as municipal water systems weren’t built to remove theses plastic beads.  Check your scrub products for plastics such as ‘polyethylene’. Best to choose biodegradable exfoliators.

6) Plastics are harming aquatic wildlife by ingestion and by entanglement. In fact some who have recently journeyed across oceans give haunting accounts of unspeakable amounts of plastics floating in the oceans and the apparent cost to wildlife. Best for all of us to reduce plastics use where we can. Plastics NEVER breakdown. You throw it away and it then becomes someone else’s issue.

7) Many plastics gas off when they are new causing an unhealthy mix of compounds in the air. This translates into how much better it may be to buy used than new or recycle someone else’s products Who will covet that ‘new car smell’ when it most probably means toxic gassing off?

8) Plastic beverage bottles are a huge environmental issue. PET plastic can be recycled but stats show the majority aren’t recycled but thrown away and end up in landfill.  If you reach for a plastic bottle out of convenience, think again and bring a stainless steel or glass refillable bottle with you next time.

And the good news? There are lots of alternatives to plastic products being created everyday by companies who are being innovative and thoughtful.  Ask questions of product manufacturers and seek out alternatives where they exist. Google everything you question and you may be surprised to find how many alternatives to polluting, harmful plastics are available.

Plastic Beads in Unilever SkinCare Affecting Marine Life

I was shocked, incensed, and disgusted today to read that Unilever has been putting plastic microbeads in its skincare scrubs which are now are in such numbers that they are adversely affecting marine life.

As a resident of this earth where I live, drink the water, eat food including at times marine life, it incenses me that Unilever has been treating the earth as a junkyard.

In a 2008 study, it was found that such microbeads stay in marine mussels for approximately 48 days. This gives ample time for them  to be ingested higher up the food chain.  Yes this includes humans.  And this issues affects oceans and lakes.  As a resident living on a Great Lake, I was intrigued with this blog post I found about these plastic beads being found in the Great Lakes.  So am I drinking theses things??

The microbeads are made from polyethylene and should be noted as such on the ingredient dec. of products in case you want to see if you have any of the suspect stuff.  A quick check of the Skin Deep database will confirm which scrubs contain polytheylene beads.

An issue that is of ‘immediate concern’ according to a CNN report is these plastic particles ability to absorb contaminant chemicals in the water. The plastics have a large surface area compared to their volume so readily soak up other pollutants in our waterways and oceans. The fact marine life ingests these particles laden with all sorts of junk spilled into our waterways create an even greater problem. Who has just lost their appetite for seafood?

A number of years ago, I was at an environmental/sustainability conference in Toronto and one of the ‘high ups’ from Unilever was there touting their environmental initiatives.  As people clapped around the room, the guy speaking beamed as he spoke about Unilever’s noteworthy environmental accomplishments.  Now years later, I feel lied to, bamboozled. Shame on you Unilever for treating our earth and its residents poorly.

Unilever has posted on its site its commitment to clean up its act by 2015. Two years! How much more damage will be done by then?  I have decided I am out for good and will not buy their products anymore.  Speak with your wallet and they may get the picture. Here is a list of Unilever products/brands to help make your buying decisions more informed.

And if you want to know a totally natural exfoliating wash with NO plastic beads, my fave is Cocoon Apothecary’s Petal Purity Exfoliating Cleanser which uses jojoba beads to exfoliate.  The scent is divine and of course the product is all natural.