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Source of Plastic Beads in Great Lakes?

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I recently read an article about small plastic beads being found in large quantities at the bottom of Lake Ontario and other great lakes. The article linked below wasn't the exact article I read, but it gives you an idea of the spin that is being put on this discovery. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/31/us-usa-pollution-greatlakes-idUSBRE96U03120130731

They are suggesting that these microbeads that are filling up the lake beds of the great lakes, are actually microbeads used in the cosmetic and skin care industry to exfoliate your skin among other things. While okay, I am sure some of these microbeads originate from their source, to have enough people exfoliating their skin to cause detectable amounts along the floor of Lake Ontario? hmmm... Doubt it.

This past weekend I pressure washed my house to clean it before winter. One major thing I noticed was the excessive amount of small microbeads of plastic which seemed to stream off of my vinyl siding when the water hit it. The small beads actually began to pile up around the base of the wall.

IMG_20130914_183034 Microbeads of plastic from my vinyl siding

I then thought, could vinyl siding be the source of all these plastic beads in our lakes? I mean sure, the average rain storm won't have water pressurized quite as high as a pressure washer. But I imagine if older UV damaged siding endures a heavy rain storm, some plastic beads will loosen up and float away in a torrent of water.

I wonder if all our vinyl victorians are polluting the lakes...


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