US to Ban Products with Microbeads in 2017

February 20, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. ban / bæn / (v.) – to not allow or to prohibit
Example: The law bans officials from creating TV ads for their election campaigns.

2. protest / ˈproʊ tɛst / (v.) – to object or disapprove
Example: The public protested about the company’s abusive treatment of farm animals.

3. toxin / ˈtɒk sɪn / (n.) – poison produced by something
ExampleA rare toxin was found in the patient’s body.

4. eliminate / ɪˈlɪm əˌneɪt / (v.) – to remove
Example: Environmental groups proposed projects to eliminate waste products from rivers.

5. get rid of / gɛt rɪd ʌv / (phrasal v.) – to be free of something
ExampleScientists created a new method to get rid of plastic waste in the ocean.


Read the text below.
Products that contain microbeads will soon be banned in the United States.

US President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in December 2015 after experts proved that these tiny particles are harmful to the environment. The government will implement the ban in 2017.

Many have protested about the dangers microbeads can cause in the environment, especially in bodies of water and to creatures living in them. Researchers have discovered that a large number of the tiny particles made their way into US lakes, rivers, and oceans through drains and water treatment centers. One major concern environmentalists voiced out is that these microbeads can absorb toxins and enter the food chain after sea creatures eat them after mistaking them for eggs and plankton.

Since human beings also depend on sea creatures for food, it is highly probable that microbeads can enter the human body. Some dentists have also reported that beads from toothpaste are left in some of their patients’ gums, attracting bacteria and later on causing oral problems such as gingivitis [jin-juh-VAHY-tis].

Some companies have already announced that they will discontinue the use of microbeads in their products. Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, and Procter & Gamble decided to eliminate the most common kind of microbeads in their existing products.

Several ways were also recommended to get rid of products containing microbeads. People can send their microbeads-containing products to 5Gyres Institute [fahyv jahyuhrz IN-sti-toot], a research and education group that deals with plastic garbage. The products can also be donated to scientists who analyze bead concentrations in products. Shipping the products back to their manufacturer is also possible, the International Campaign Against Microbeads In Cosmetics said.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think would happen if the microbeads ban in the US was not passed?
·         Do you think microbeads should also be banned in your country? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Why is it important to take care of sea creatures?
·         What can you do to help protect the bodies of water in your country?

February 20, 2016