The microbeads used in exfoliators that make your skin feel so clean and smooth have been recently discovered to cause damage to the Eco-system as they are made from plastic. 5 Gyre Institute, a group of researchers from Los Angeles, came to find that most of the Great Lakes are contaminated with the tiny plastic beads used in cosmetic scrubs. The really small particles are not spotted at first look as they are not floating on the surface of the water but when you run it through a filter, they are easily seen with the naked eye. The way they reach the lakes is by being washed down the drain but as they are so small, the sewage treatment fails to get rid of them.
The microscopical pieces also put the wildlife of the lakes in danger as they can be devoured by birds or fish and therefore get stuck in their intestines. It also presents a danger for humans since if you could find them in birds or fish, you could also find them in us, as one of the scientists on the research team points out.