As a headshot photographer, I work with more than just professional portraiture. I also specialize in promotional and commercial imagery to promote businesses and organizations in my area and around the United States.
In March I was asked to fly down to San Fransisco to work on a project building impactful imagery for the Story of Stuff Project. The photography I was creating was to be for the Ban the Bead campaign, bringing awareness to the devastating effects of plastic microbeads.
Many people are not aware that companies, such as Procter and Gamble have been adding tiny plastic microbeads to their beauty products as an alternative 'exfoliant'. In the past, natural resources were used for exfoliation, such as poppy seeds, pumice and apricot pits. These days, millions of plastic beads are being added to face wash, body wash... even toothpaste... and flushed directly into the water stream.
I was particularly alarmed to learn these companies are putting plastic microbeads in toothpaste. We emptied a bottle of Crest toothpaste which contained thousands of these tiny beads, which a person would inevidably swallow if swishing around their mouth. Here's some info from the SOS site to arm you with info to avoid purchasing plastic-filled toothpaste:
How do I know if I’m washing my face or brushing my teeth with plastic?
Most people have no idea that those little beads are actually bits of plastic! In the United States, The Food And Drug Administration (FDA) requires that if a product contains microbeads the company has to list the ingredients. Not all countries require this, but many producers list their ingredients anyway. If you see any of the following ingredients: polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate or polymethyl methacrylate you’re cleaning up with plastic and being duped into contributing to plastic pollution in the environment—yikes!
These beads are so tiny that they're impossible to filter out and are being flushed directly into the ocean. There are reports that coral reefs are consuming the plastic beads, which they mistake for plankton, and are suffocating. This is causing a massive global issue.
Plastic pollution is of particular concern to me, so I was especially vamped to work on this project.
Check out the Story of Stuff Project Plastic Microbead campaign page to learn more on this issue, see imagery produced from our shoot, and learn how you can make a difference here: Story of Stuff Plastic Microbead Campaign