Facial scrub particles, SEM. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of particles found within consumer facial scrub lotion. The flakes are silica particles and the smaller spheres are tiny polyethylene 'microplastic' beads. The particles measuring only a few micrometres in diameter each act as exfoliating agents that help to remove dead skin cells when applied to the body. Microplastics are too small to be trapped during waste water treatment and eventually end up as in the ocean. It is thought that small marine animals ingest the microplastics and pass the pollutant up the food chain. Magnification x15,000 at 10cms.
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