toothpaste on toothbrushWhenever I have a particularly garlic-packed meal, I always think of the scene in I Love You, Man in which Peter (played by Paul Rudd) comes home from a particularly disastrous night out during which he got sick, and his fiancee offers him natural mouthwash. He passes, noting that he's "gotta go with the chemicals on this." Ha, it's that bad, we all laugh.

But the thing is ... just how okay are we really with chemicals in our hygiene products? Do we really believe they make the products more effective? It's an interesting question ... and one that's being raised a lot lately in light of recent discussions about microplastics in toothpaste and other bath/body products.

Those little blue beads that make certain toothpastes look "extra-cleansing" are actually made from a type of plastic called PEG, or polyethylene glycol, which is primarily used for containers and packaging (like bottles and plastic grocery bags). Not only is PEG worrisome because it is not biodegradeable, but according to Environmental Working Group, or EWG, these polymers can be contaminated with potentially toxic manufacturing impurities such as 1,4-dioxane.

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Earlier this month, a dental hygienist named Trish Walraven wrote on DentalBuzz.com that she and her colleagues are finding these tiny particles lodged in many patients' gums. She isn't saying outright that the microplastics are causing gum problems, but she is concerned -- as a hygienist and a mom.

Meanwhile, toothpastes aren't the only items where PEG is lurking. The microplastic can also be found in skin exfoliators and similar personal care products ... No wonder it's a point of concern. But thankfully, knowledge is power, and consumers do have the power to trigger change.

How do you feel about "microplastic" in your toothpaste or other personal care products?

 

Image via toastyken/Flickr