Pollution caused by microplastics is becoming increasingly rampant. Experts say that these tiny pieces of plastic, which cannot be seen by the naked eye, are now everywhere. Initially, scientists thought that microplastics are just found at the bottom of the sea where they are mistakenly ingested by sea creatures. However, recent surveys show that microplastics are also mixed into beach sand and are carried by the wind. There are also theories saying that microplastics can be found inside humans as well.
In a recent study of a survey done last October, scientists found out that fecal samples from eight people have microplastics in it. The scientists conducted a pilot study to find out how much microplastics humans are inadvertently consuming.
According to the study, it is possible that humans may be consuming around 39,000 to 52,000 particles of microplastic per year. In addition, humans might also be inhaling microplastics, which raises the number of particles to more than 74,000.
Experts have identified any piece of plastic that is smaller than 5mm to be a microplastic article. Later investigation shows that there are much smaller plastic particles that are only visible under a microscope called nano plastics.
According to the study, among the possible channels for microplastics are beer, seafood, sugar, salt, honey, and alcohol. The scientists studied the recommendations made by the US Department of Agriculture to determine the number of certain food items that people consume, exposing them to microplastic contaminants. As of the moment, the existing research on microplastics found in food only covers about 15% of the calories consumed by an average person.
The scientists also looked in previous studies that reviewed the number of microplastics in drinking water. According to the data that they gathered, people who meet the recommended water intake through tap water are ingesting additional 40,000 microplastic particles every year. Interestingly, those who drink only bottled water are ingesting an additional 90,000 particles of microplastics for the same period.
Kieran Cox, the study's author, is expecting that his conclusions are only an underestimate. He added that it is more likely that people are consuming far more microplastics than expected.
Cox explained that in the research, most of the items considered are the ones that are being eaten raw. The study has not yet gone into the layers upon layers of plastic packaging.
In 2018, a study was published concluding that people are more likely to ingest microplastic particles by inhaling dust in their environment than by eating shellfish.
Where Microplastics in the Human Body Come From
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