Crest toothpaste said it will remove the plastic microbeads contained in its products after a growing number of dentists said they were finding them lodged in their patient's gums.
"While the ingredient in question is completely safe, approved for use in foods by the FDA, and part of an enjoyable brushing experience for millions of consumers with no issues, we understand there is a growing preference for us to remove this ingredient. So we will," the Proctor and Gamble subsidiary said in a statement this week, KHON reported
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"We currently have products without microbeads for those who would prefer them. We have begun removing microbeads from the rest of our toothpastes, and the majority of our product volume will be microbead-free within six months. We will complete our removal process by March of 2016."
The issue gained steam after a Texas dental hygienist, Trish Walraven, wrote an in-depth blog post
about the beads.
"I’m seeing these same bits of blue plastic stuck in my patients’ mouths almost every day," she wrote back in March.
"Polyethylene plastic is in your toothpaste for decorative purposes only. This is unacceptable not only to me, but to many, many hygienists nationwide. We are informing our patients. We are doing research separately and comparing notes. And until Procter & Gamble gives us a better reason as to why there is plastic in your toothpaste, we would like you to consider discontinuing the use of these products."
After asking around, Walraven found out she wasn't the only hygienist finding the beads in her patients' gums. She then began asking people to call and email Procter and Gamble's consumer complaint department, and voice their concerns. Just a few months later, the company responded.
It doesn't end there, however, as plastic microbeads have shown up in a number of bath products over the years from toothpaste to bodywash.
In June, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law ban on the products that will begin in 2018. Environmentalists say the plastic microbeads often make their way out of water treatment facilities and can be found in the millions across Lake Michigan. There, they absorb toxic substances and harm fish and other aquatic animals.
At least four other states, including New York and California, are now considering similar bans.
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