Dr. Vincent Breslin, an oceanography professor at SCSU, tells Fox CT that people are likely ingesting the microbeads found in exfoliating cleansers and lotions.
Breslin and his students have been taking samples of the Long Island Sound, looking to see what pollutants are impacting the environment.
"We want to understand what the problem pollutants are," he said.
And they found what they expected to--little plastic, sac-like microbes that matched the beads found in facial cleansers and soaps.
Breslin said, "We in fact did find some of the beads, and the sizes, and the colors and the shapes of those beads directly matched the kinds of beads that are added into these products.
The role of the beads is to exfoliate the skin, using the texture to rub off any dead skin cells.
The problem, Breslin said, is that "the beads in these products don't necessarily burst," which means they aren't dissolving and are instead ending up in the water supply.
"When you wash your hands or you wash your face, and you rinse that in the sink, that water goes from the sink in the home to the waste water treatment plants in the area, and often times that simply gets discharged out into the Long Island Sound," Breslin said.
The worst part? The beads are plastic, and aren't biodegradable, so they can sit in the water for eternity without breaking down, extending the amount of time a fish has to eat it before being caught and sold at the supermarket or in a restaurant.
Connecticut is taking action, and legislation has been introduced to ban products that use microbeads. However, it will be several years before the measure would be passed, if it even is. If and when Connecticut bans microbeads, it may not even be enough; New York borders the other side of the Sound, and unless they too pass legislation, the waters may still be polluted.
See more on the attempts to ban microbeads:
Microbeads harming the environment - face washes, soaps
Microbeads from cleansers harming the Sound
Democratic lawmakers, from left, Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, of Stockton, Assemblyman Richard Bloom, of Santa Monica, and Sen. Ben Hueso, of San Diego, discuss amendment to Blooms measure to phase out the use of microscopic beads in personal care products in California, to Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Temecula, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif. The Senate approved Bloom's bill, after amendments were made to the bill that prompted many manufacturers and other business critics to drop their opposition.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Womans hand holding a facial scrub product with Plastic microbeads
Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, right, is congratulated by Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, after his measure to phase out the use of microscopic beads in personal care products in California was approved by the Senate, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
In this Feb. 6, 2015, photo Rep. Dianne Primavera, D-Broomfield, speaks during a legislative hearing in Denver. A Colorado bill to ban the microbeads by 2020 has won preliminary approval in the House and faces a final vote before heading to the Senate. The "microbeads" turn up in face scrubs, acne treatments and toothpaste. Primavera is the sponsor of the bill. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, left, takes a picture of the votes being posted for his measure to phase out the use of microscopic beads in personal care products in California, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif. At right is Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, who carried the bill in the Senate. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
State Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, was one of several Republican lawmakers to argue against a measure by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica that would phase out the use of microscopic beads in personal care products in California, during the Senate session at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)