Damned Plastic Micro-beads

Allen Lucas

Marysville, Ontario, Canada

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Artist's Description

One of the latest problems facing our waters is the use of tiny plastic beads in all kinds of products. In the picture the 2 white beads are from a bottle of a popular body wash soap while the red beads are from a toothpaste. For scale, I have placed them on a Canadian 5 cent coin or nickel.

As an engineer working on water treatment projects, these cause concern. First, they are hard to detect and right now are believed to be hard to remove in a wastewater treatment plant. If they get into the environment, either from the plant or the other products, they are believed to persist and not break down.

A number of tests have been done around the Great Lakes in North America where these “contaminants” have been identified. Politicians and lawmakers are trying to regulate their use and have their use stopped in the products. Who knows where this will end up, but I will certainly be watching and in our own way adding to the research.

Photo taken with Canon DSLR Rebel Xt with 18-55mm kit lens reversed.

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Artwork Comments

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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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