Glitter:  A Global Villain

Glitter has been used for celebrations, decorations and now for crafts and makeup.  It literally can takes weeks to totally remove it from your home after a craft project.  In addition, glitter sticks to your skin, clothing and even under your fingernails.  In a nutshell, once your project is complete, glitter is over the top annoying! 

Although not immediately dangerous if ingested in minute amounts, every year near the holidays, ophthalmologists warn that small glitter pieces can easily get into your eye and scratch your cornea, which increases your risk for an eye infection or permanent vision loss. 

Beyond the annoyance of finding glitter all over the house, once it is washed out of your hair and clothes and down the drain, glitter becomes a problem for wastewater treatment plants and waterways. 

Glitter is a preformed microplastic particle that washes directly into the environment.  These microsized particles of plastic are consumed by even the smallest forms of life in the ocean, affecting the function and health of wildlife.  

These bits of microplastic particles are consumed by the marine life, and collect in bird’s stomachs, causing the birds to die of starvation.  While the majority of microplastic particles that have been measured are believed to have degraded from larger pieces of plastic, glitter enters the environment already small enough for smaller marine animals to ingest. 

Glitter offers a unique challenge to fish as they are attracted to shiny objects.  Many of the smallest creatures in the ocean play a vital ecological role in the marine food chain.


Studies suggest that ingestion of microplastics may have a detrimental effect on the function and health of a creature vital to the survival of marine animals that feed on zooplankton.  This has severe implications throughout the food chain, as microplastic particles are not metabolized and thus accumulate in predators, and ultimately the final predator is us!


We may want to re think what toys and games we let our children play with and maybe skip the dress up details with our children and grandchildren, and stick to normal kids make up that doesn’t include glitter!


To your health!


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