Dave Weatherill hosted local teacher-on-call & avid sailor Eric Martinen, who talked about his recent adventure in our Great Lakes, aboard “Sea Dragon,” a 72’ yacht owned by Pangaea Exploration ( www.panexplore.com ).  This organization conducts marine conservation research & supports the development of conservation resources & scientists.  Eric’s trip was focused on measuring the prevalence & effects of plastics in our lakes – specifically polyethylene, or “microbeads,” which serve as abrasives in many consumer products, such as toothpaste & facial cleansers.  Because microbeads in our lakes & oceans are being ingested by birds & fish, & also by humans, our governments are under pressure to force reluctant manufacturers to speed up the replacement of microbeads by natural abrasives, such as ground walnut or apricot shells, etc.  Eric passed around samples of microbeads strained from a couple of consumer products.  We can all avoid microbeads by looking at the ingredients on labels, & not purchasing those with polyethylenes.