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Bead Ban

Microbeads: Activism against a waterway danger



As Nemo’s pal Gill famously said, “All drains lead to the ocean, kid.” But who knew that brushing your teeth or washing your face might harm a fish? 

Anna Gold, a Fairfield Woods middle schooler, understood the danger and wrote a letter to State Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey in 2015, asking that Connecticut ban the micro-bead. Gold was inspired when an activist came to her door. “They were trying to get people to write letters to pass a bill against microbeads.

They explained more about the dangers, so I said yes,” she explains. “I researched them and learned more as I was writing my letter and drawing the pictures. I never expected it to get this far.” Gold was thrilled to eventually meet McCarthy Vahey, her state representative and neighbor. 

“It was one of the first letters I got from a constituent after being sworn in,” recalls McCarthy Vahey. “Seventy more letters from people in Fairfield concerned about microbeads prompted me to file a bill and join forces with other legislators. The more I learned, the more sense it made. We are a community whose well-being is so directly tied to the health of the Long Island Sound, so an effort like this makes great sense for Fairfield and for the region as a whole.”

Many Fairfielders have been making environmentally conscious decisions regarding cleaning products for years, avoiding toxic chemicals that might harm the ecosystem. Now it’s time for the next step. Research has found that our oceans, rivers, and lakes are overburdened with tiny plastic microbeads, most of which are less than .5mm in size. What exactly are they?

Microbeads are pieces of plastic smaller than a pinhead and often appear as colorful little balls suspended in healthcare products. These non-biodegradable spheres can be found in scores of personal-care products such as toothpaste, exfoliating cleansers, shampoos, and cosmetics. Sea creatures absorb or eat the microbeads, which are passed along the food chain, ultimately contaminating humans.

Microbeads are not biodegradable and once they enter the marine environment, they are impossible to remove. They pass through water treatment systems as well. 

In going about our daily ablutions, we might be inadvertently adding to the pollution in our waterways. According to the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, microbeads can be found in more than 100 common household products. One recent study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, estimates that eight billion microbeads per day are being emitted into aquatic habitats, three trillion per year in the United States. 

Last July, McCarthy Vahey was instrumental in passing legislation in Connecticut to phase out the sale and manufacture of them by December 31, 2017. The Federal Government was not far behind in recognizing the problem. Last December, Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 was signed into law by President Obama. The law bans the manufacture of products containing microbeads starting the phase-out in July 2017 to January 1, 2018. 

In the meantime, consumers have to be savvier. “We can all start by reading labels and spreading the word,” says McCarthy Vahey. “I definitely pay more attention to ingredients and am often surprised at the items that contain the beads.” One non-profit, Beat the Micro-bead, is leading the international effort to ban the beads and offers an app you can use to scan barcodes while shopping: beatthemicrobead.org/en/.

Many companies have already begun their own phase-outs. Unilever has removed plastic beads from all of its products globally as of January 2015. Proctor & Gamble has pledged to remove polyethylene microbeads from all of its cleansers and toothpaste by 2017. When shopping, here are some words to watch for on labels: polyethylene polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), and nylon.

“I’ve always been a supporter of environmental issues,” says McCarthy Vahey. “This was something I was more involved with, and Anna and the others who wrote had a lot to do with it. I always tell kids who come to the capitol, ‘You can make a difference. Isn’t that cool?’” 


Exfoliating Folly - Consumers got hooked on the little scrubbing plastic beads in facial and body cleansers, touting the exfoliating benefits. Cocoa beans and apricot shells are used in many products with similar or often better results.  

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December 2018

Saturday, December 8 and Sunday, December 9, 11am – 12:30pm & 1:30 – 3pm Register online at http://www.fairfieldhistory.org Enjoy a “tea” with cookies and milk with characters from “A...

Cost: Adults: $10; Children: $5; Children 5 and under: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

On December 9 from 12 – 3 p.m. bring your knitting projects or spinning wheels and enjoy a relaxing afternoon with seasoned knitters and spinners. They will coach you on your knitting challenges...

Cost: Free, but donations in support of New Pond Farm's fleecy flock will be welcomed!

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Music on the Hill bell ringers add festive music to holiday shopping at the Westport store. Bells will ring at intervals throughout the afternoon. Kids may join in with sleigh bells. Stop by...

Cost: free

Where:
Westport Barnes and Noble Booksellers
1076 Post Road East
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

James Lancel McElhinney, journal-artist, author, Yale alumnus and  Pollock-Krasner Grant recipient will unfold the epic story of painted books, from the Age of Exploration to the digital era. He...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Ridgefield Library
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Library
Telephone: 203-438-2282
Contact Name: Laurie McGavin Bachmann
Website »

More information

Join celebrated artist Duncan Hannah as he discusses his memoir, 20th Century Boy: Notebooks of the Seventies, a rollicking and vividly immediate memoir of his life in 1970s New York — a lost...

Cost: free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Website »

More information

December 1 – December 31, 2018 Monday – Thursday, 10am – 1pm Fridays (December 7, 14, 21, 28), 10am – 7pm Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 4pm Vacation Week, December 24, 26, 27 & 31, 10am...

Cost: Members: Free; Adult: $5; Seniors & Student: $3; Children under 5: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »

More information

Each night from November 20th through December 31st the museum is transformed into a dazzling holiday light extravaganza! Every surface of the museum’s exterior becomes a canvas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Telephone: 203-899-0606
Contact Name: Stepping Stones Museum for Children
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

December 1 – December 31, 2018 Monday – Thursday, 10am – 1pm Fridays (December 7, 14, 21, 28), 10am – 7pm Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 4pm Vacation Week, December 24, 26, 27 & 31, 10am...

Cost: Members: Free; Adult: $5; Seniors & Student: $3; Children under 5: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »

More information

Each night from November 20th through December 31st the museum is transformed into a dazzling holiday light extravaganza! Every surface of the museum’s exterior becomes a canvas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Telephone: 203-899-0606
Contact Name: Stepping Stones Museum for Children
Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Fairfield Chamber of Commerce and FELO (Fairfield Emerging Leaders Organization) will celebrate the holiday season with their 2018 Annual Holiday Party on Wednesday, December 11th, from...

Cost: $45 Chamber Members & FELO Members / $55 non Members

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 203-255-1011
Contact Name: Krista McCormack
Website »

More information

December 1 – December 31, 2018 Monday – Thursday, 10am – 1pm Fridays (December 7, 14, 21, 28), 10am – 7pm Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 4pm Vacation Week, December 24, 26, 27 & 31, 10am...

Cost: Members: Free; Adult: $5; Seniors & Student: $3; Children under 5: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »

More information

Each night from November 20th through December 31st the museum is transformed into a dazzling holiday light extravaganza! Every surface of the museum’s exterior becomes a canvas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Telephone: 203-899-0606
Contact Name: Stepping Stones Museum for Children
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Discover adventures on the tracks with books that spark the imagination. Sponsored by People’s United Bank.

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: People's United Bank
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager

More information

December 1 – December 31, 2018 Monday – Thursday, 10am – 1pm Fridays (December 7, 14, 21, 28), 10am – 7pm Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 4pm Vacation Week, December 24, 26, 27 & 31, 10am...

Cost: Members: Free; Adult: $5; Seniors & Student: $3; Children under 5: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Each night from November 20th through December 31st the museum is transformed into a dazzling holiday light extravaganza! Every surface of the museum’s exterior becomes a canvas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Telephone: 203-899-0606
Contact Name: Stepping Stones Museum for Children
Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Each event in our Art in Focus series offers an opportunity for an hour of close looking and informal discussion around a single work of art, led by Curator of Education Michelle DiMarzo. On...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bellarmine Hall
200 Barlow Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield University Art Museum
Telephone: 203-254-4046

More information

December 1 – December 31, 2018 Monday – Thursday, 10am – 1pm Fridays (December 7, 14, 21, 28), 10am – 7pm Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 4pm Vacation Week, December 24, 26, 27 & 31, 10am...

Cost: Members: Free; Adult: $5; Seniors & Student: $3; Children under 5: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »

More information

Each night from November 20th through December 31st the museum is transformed into a dazzling holiday light extravaganza! Every surface of the museum’s exterior becomes a canvas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Telephone: 203-899-0606
Contact Name: Stepping Stones Museum for Children
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The Vagabond Theatre Company (VTC) presents their Second Annual Holiday Spectacular: It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Show. This year’s production, directed by VTC’s...

Cost: $15

Where:
Stony Creek Museum
84 Thimble Islands Road
Stony Creek, CT  06405
View map »


Sponsor: The Vagabond Theater Company
Telephone: 203-520-8332
Contact Name: John R Smith Jnr
Website »

More information

A holiday tradition of family fun continues! • Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Southport Village • Decorate cookies • Make a pine cone bird feeder and other holiday crafts • Listen...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

More information

December 1 – December 31, 2018 Monday – Thursday, 10am – 1pm Fridays (December 7, 14, 21, 28), 10am – 7pm Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 4pm Vacation Week, December 24, 26, 27 & 31, 10am...

Cost: Members: Free; Adult: $5; Seniors & Student: $3; Children under 5: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »

More information

A two-night Zeppelin throwdown is coming back to The Warehouse this December. It is no secret that women rock, and rock hard. Seeing the all-female Led Zeppelin tribute...

Cost: $38/ticket; $98 VIP; Members Save: $3/ticket

Where:
The Warehouse at FTC
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us on Friday evenings when the Train Show is open late for fun, hands-on activities and refreshments.

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »

More information

Each night from November 20th through December 31st the museum is transformed into a dazzling holiday light extravaganza! Every surface of the museum’s exterior becomes a canvas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Telephone: 203-899-0606
Contact Name: Stepping Stones Museum for Children
Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Saturday, December 15, 10am – 11:30am OR 12 – 1:30pm. Register online at http://www.fairfieldhistory.org Holiday fun for the whole family. Celebrate the magic of the season by creating a...

Cost: Members: $15; Non-Members: $18 per house.

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The Vagabond Theatre Company (VTC) presents their Second Annual Holiday Spectacular: It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Show. This year’s production, directed by VTC’s...

Cost: $15

Where:
Stony Creek Museum
84 Thimble Islands Road
Stony Creek, CT  06405
View map »


Sponsor: The Vagabond Theater Company
Telephone: 203-520-8332
Contact Name: John R Smith Jnr
Website »

More information

A two-night Zeppelin throwdown is coming back to The Warehouse this December. It is no secret that women rock, and rock hard. Seeing the all-female Led Zeppelin tribute...

Cost: $38; $98 VIP; Members Save: $3/ticket

Where:
The Warehouse at FTC
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Come and meet award-winning columnist, author, and founder of Jackson, Grant Investment Advisers, Inc, Julie Jason. She'll be signing her most recent books, The Retirement Survival Guide, Managing...

Cost: 0

Where:
Barnes & Noble at the Stamford Town Center
100 Greyrock Place
Stamford, CT  06901
View map »


Sponsor: Julie Jason
Telephone: 203-322-1198
Contact Name: Theresa Robbins
Website »

More information

December 1 – December 31, 2018 Monday – Thursday, 10am – 1pm Fridays (December 7, 14, 21, 28), 10am – 7pm Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 4pm Vacation Week, December 24, 26, 27 & 31, 10am...

Cost: Members: Free; Adult: $5; Seniors & Student: $3; Children under 5: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »

More information

Each night from November 20th through December 31st the museum is transformed into a dazzling holiday light extravaganza! Every surface of the museum’s exterior becomes a canvas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Telephone: 203-899-0606
Contact Name: Stepping Stones Museum for Children
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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