“All that glitters is not gold,” including actual glitter. But that’s not because the annoying shiny stuff is impossible to ever clean up, it poses a serious environmental hazard to our oceans and sea life. That’s why some scientists are calling for a global ban of it, especially in cosmetic products.
Environmental anthropologist Dr. Trisia Farrelly told The Independent that glitter can cause harm to our oceans because it’s a type of microplastic, which are especially destructive as they accumulate in the world’s bodies of water. The National Ocean Service says “plastic is the most prevalent type of marine debris found in our ocean and Great Lakes,” and defines microplastics as any plastics that “are less than five millimeters in length.” That why it’s easier for them to make their way through drains, ultimately resulting in their consumption by fish and other sea animals. Most glitter is made of aluminum and a type of plastic that releases a harmful chemical to both fish (and therefore humans who might eat those fish that microplastics aggregate in) when it breaks down.