Neutrogena is Polluting Our Oceans with Millions of Plastic Pellets

June 5, 2014 at 7:18 pm Leave a comment

A few days ago, we received a very upsetting email about Neutrogena products polluting our oceans with millions of plastic shards every day. It’s quite the outrage and The Story of Stuff is working hard to change that.

The Story of Stuff project is an organization we deeply admire for their stand against companies like Johnson & Johnson who profit without a care to our planet’s well being. In this email, they explain that the tiny shards of plastic used as exfoliants in beauty products are designed to be washed down the drain and out into our oceans by the billions.

They have set up a campaign where the people can demand Johnson & Johnson to remove microbeads from its products now.

These plastic pellets chemically attract and absorb toxins in the sewage. They are often mistaken for food by fish that gobble them up, allowing the pellets AND the toxins along for the ride, working their way up the food chain. Many of these microplastics are so tiny that they show up in the bloodstreams of the animals that eat them, where they’ll be lodged in the host until it dies.

Tell Johnson & Johnson to ditch ocean-trashing microbeads!

Microbeads are being dumped into our oceans in huge quantities: Neutrogena’s “Deep Clean” facial cleanser contains over 350,000 microbeads in each tube alone. Companies that package and pack their products full of pollutants try to blame us for the problem. They say that any time their trash ends up in the ocean, it’s our responsibility, part of a long line of using “personal responsibility” to shift all the blame to the consumer. But a clean future is our collective responsibility, and we have to fight for it on every level.


Johnson & Johnson has said that it would take two years to phase out microbeads, but the company is asking to be given four years, in a non-binding pledge. Companies want to get away with making non-binding pledges that they don’t have to live up to until years into the future, hoping that we will forget before they have to fulfill them. But legislatures are catching on. Two weeks ago, the New York State Assembly voted 108-0 to ban micro bead products, and last week the California Assembly passed a similar bills.

The companies that profit from these pollutants are lobbying intensely to keep up their “freedom” to trash the ocean, but if J&J can become a leader in cleaning up its products, it will push other companies to come along.

 The Story of Stuff project is working closely with partners at 5 Gyres, which first raised the problem of microbeads after finding them bobbing around the Great Lakes.

Currently, companies like J&J are caught up in The Story of Stuff — they are so focused on pumping out more products that they feel like they can ignore the impact that they are having on the environment, or at best kick the can down the road.

Plastics in Face Scrubs

Plastics in Face Scrubs

That is why we have to band together to make this an issue right now. If companies like Johnson & Johnson hear from thousands of their customers from around the world, they will realize that cleaning up their dirty brands should be a top priority.

Join us today in rewriting the Story by telling J&J to ditch microbeads today.

Thank you for all you do!

P.S. It is so easy to make your own exfoliants with natural salts. If you have a recipe, please share in the comments below.

profile3This article was written by Diana Paez, co-founder and marketing director of SmartKlean. What is your opinion on this issue? Feel free to leave your comments below!

Entry filed under: Health Hazards, Sustainability & Lifestyle, Videos and links. Tags: , , , .

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