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Your Face Wash Is Polluting the Great Lakes, Cornell Expert Explains

Released: 4-Mar-2014 4:00 PM EST
Source Newsroom: Cornell University
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Newswise — Following the introduction of legislation to ban the sale of products containing plastic microbeads in New York State, Motoko Mukai, a veterinarian and toxicologist at Cornell University comments on the negative impact the tiny plastic pellets, found in many bath products, have on the Great Lakes.

Mukai says:
“Plastics are indispensable in the convenient world we live today, but they are also one of the biggest environmental contaminant we can actually see; In the middle of the northern Pacific Ocean we can see a big garbage patch that threatens the lives of albatrosses and sea turtles through ingestion of the plastic debris.

“Even if we cannot see plastic garbage floating in the middle of the Great Lakes, it is there and we need to be aware of that and think about what harm it is doing to our ecosystem health. Microplastic beads can be ingested by planktonic organisms and filter-feeding organisms like mussels. While we know very little about what kind of health effects it has in those smaller organisms, if the planktons and mussels are ingested by fish and birds and go up the food chain, it could lead to bioaccumulation and biomagnification of persistent organic pollutants or POPs.”

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.

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