Nonbiodegradable microbeads in the Los Angeles River raise concerns

01/30/2014 | Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)

The presence of microbeads, miniscule bits of nonbiodegradable plastic used in personal care products, is causing problems in the Los Angeles River and raising concerns as they float out to sea. The polyethylene and polypropylene beads absorb toxins as they ride the river to the Pacific Ocean. "The scary thing is that the beads sponge up toxins, then get consumed by organisms from shellfish to crabs to fish," which could later be caught for human consumption, said 5 Gyres Institute scientist Marcus Eriksen.

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