Glitter’s sparkly fun has been killing the environment, according to scientists.
The majority of glitter is comprised of microplastic, tiny plastic pieces estimated at less than 5 millimeters in length. Their small size can find its way into the ocean making it a dangerous food for marine life including whales.
Some microplastic estimates in the ocean range as large as 51 trillion fragments.
“I was quite concerned when somebody bought my daughters some shower gel that had glitter particles in it,” marine biologist Richard Thompson told the Independent. “That stuff is going to escape down the plughole and potentially enter the environment.”
Glitter’s impact reaches beyond a fun party decoration. Items such as lipstick, eyeshadow and other cosmetic products can include the pesky microplastics.
“I think all glitter should be banned,” environmental anthropologist Trisia Farrelly told the Independent. “When people think about glitter they think of party and dress-up glitter. But glitter includes cosmetic glitters as well. The more everyday kind that people don’t think about as much.”