Imagine a world without glitter. (Pretty bleak, right?) While it’s impossible to envision our nails sans sparkly polish or a shimmer-free Victoria’s Secret runway, everyone’s favorite multipurpose craft supply is coming under major scientific scrutiny.

Processed with VSCOcam with n1 preset

Environmental anthropologist and senior lecturer in environment and planning, Trisia Farrelly, from New Zealand’s Massey University pronounced the sparkly stuff to be environmentally hazardous — and she wants it wiped off the face of the earth. “I think all glitter should be banned, because it’s microplastic,” Farrelly told the IndependentAnd she’s not the only one.  

A Plymouth University study led by professor of marine biology Richard Thompson found that plastics were found in a third of all fish caught in the UK. “I was quite concerned when somebody bought my daughters some shower gel that had glitter particles in it,” Thompson said. “That stuff is going to escape down the plughole and potentially enter the environment.”

School of fish swimming

Generally speaking, glitter is made from microplastics — tiny pieces of plastic measuring roughly 5mm or less (glitter is usually around 1mm). According to Live Science, a study conducted by PLOS ONE found that microplastics account for over 92 percent of a whopping 268,940 TONS of plastic floating in the earth’s oceans.

Translation: tiny pieces of plastic are adding up to be a big problem. Glitter and other microplastics are polluting the oceans and many species of marine life are mistaking the tiny little floaters as food, which is obviously no bueno.

Closeup of facewash scrub with microbeads on glass surface

That’s not to say that glitter is the only culprit in ocean pollution. This anti-glitter outcry is reminiscent of last year’s partial microbead ban, which aims to completely phase out those little plastic balls in your exfoliator and other bath products by 2019 for similar reasons.

While we literally can’t imagine a world without glitter, we are all about preserving our oceans. Luckily, some brands, such as Wild Glitter are creating eco-friendly biodegradable options. Here’s to shining bright like a diamond, guilt-free. 

Are you surprised by this glitter news? Tweet us your thoughts @BritandCo!

(Photo via Edward James/Getty, Getty Images)