Microbeads & AltroBead Technology: Understand the difference

Microbeads have come under some scrutiny lately for their potential harmful impact to the environment to aquatic life.  Here is a quick overview of what they are, why they are controversial, and why Altrobead technology should not be confused with microbeads.  

What are Microbeads

Microbeads is the term given to the little bits of plastic that are sometimes added to products for their abrasive properties.  For example, in shower gels these tiny plastic pieces - which tend to be less than 5mm in size - are designed to exfoliate dry cells from the surface of the skin.

Why are Microbeads controversial?

While offering beneficial properties, Microbeads can cause plastic particle water pollution and pose an environmental hazard for aquatic animals in freshwater and ocean water.  A single shower can result in 100,000 plastic particles entering the ocean. 

Microbeads are bioaccumulative and may pass up the food chain.  From worms, to fish, to seabirds, all are affected. They may even be in the fish we eat.  

In large amounts, Microbeads are toxic. In the USA, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 phases out microbeads in rinse off cosmetics by July 2017.  In August of this year, the Environmental Audit Committee called for a worldwide ban of the tiny particles.  

What is Altrobead technology?

Found in the new colors of Altro Aquarius, Altrobead is an innovative way of creating a more domestic look to sheet vinyl.  Tiny beads in three carefully selected hues are blended and evenly distributed into the flooring on top of the base color. The result is the consistent, soft appearance that you would expect and want from domestic interiors. The subtle blend of four colors in each shade makes matching or choosing walls and fixtures much easier and allows a different, and more personal touch.

Altrobead Technology is not a Microbead

While they sound similar they are nothing alike. The Altrobead particles that Altro use in the manufacture of the new Altro Aquarius product are fully incorporated into the product and cannot be separated so it is impossible for them to be washed away. There are no “free/loose” Altrobeads in the flooring.

Richard Finnegan, Marketing Manager | LEED Green Associate

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Posted: 10/25/2016 5:21:46 PM by Jesse Wade | with 0 comments