Evidence of microbeads from personal care product contaminating the sea

Pui Kwan CHEUNG, Lincoln FOK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)


Plastic microbeads in personal care products have been identified as a source of marine pollution. Yet, their existence in the environment is rarely reported. During two surface manta trawls in the coastal waters of Hong Kong, eleven blue, spherical microbeads were captured. Their sizes (in diameters) ranged from 0.332 to 1.015 mm. These microbeads possessed similar characteristics in terms of colour, shape and size with those identified and extracted from a facial scrub available in the local market. The FT-IR spectrum of the captured microbeads also matched those from the facial scrub. It was likely that the floating microbeads at the sea surface originated from a facial scrub and they have bypassed or escaped the sewage treatment system in Hong Kong. Timely voluntary or legislative actions are required to prevent more microbeads from entering the aquatic environment. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-585
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number1
Early online dateMay 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016



Cheung, P. K., & Fok, L. (2016). Evidence of microbeads from personal care product contaminating the sea. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 109(1), 582-585.


  • Microbeads
  • Microplastics
  • Personal care and cosmetic products
  • Hong Kong