Dating the pledge

Tests have shown that the kind of fat-soluble pollutants that environmental agencies worry about the most – such as cancer-causing PCBs – can accumulate on the surface of microplastic beads, which have a large surface area compared to their volume.

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Asked if he would go through with his pledge, he said, “Well, I don’t want to comment on that, again, but we’ll see what happens.” Trump would not be the first incoming US president to have promised to move the embassy, only to walk back his promise once in office.

Superdrug said that it is currently working on a plan to remove the beads from its own products.

Sainsbury's said it launched two products with plastic microbeads last year but now plans to stop adding them to any new items.

Chris Fowler, of the Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association, said it had made its members aware of concerns over plastic microbeads, but it was for individual companies to formulate their own policies."If companies have decided to move away from using plastic microbeads we must remember it will some take time before we start seeing this on the shelf, as reformulation needs to takes place," he said.

Particle physics No one seems to know – or is prepared to admit – when plastic microbeads were first used, or which company pioneered their use.

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