Microplastics are making their way through our bloodstreams.
For the first time, microplastic pollution has been found in human blood for 80% of the people who have been tested.
Microplastics enter our bodies in a variety of ways and has already been shown to enter our bodies through the air we breath as well as the food we eat.
In fact, microplastics found in body waste has been shown to be 10 times higher in babies than adults. Likely due to the fact that babies fed with plastic bottles are swallowing millions of microplastic particles a day.
So what are microplastics?
Microplastics are small pieces of plastic that are less than five millimeters long. Some can only be seen under a microscope. And they're showing up everywhere. Study after study has proven how far and wide microplastics have spread. Even remarkably remote locations such as the Arctic and Antartica are no longer plastic free.
Why does it matter?
These tiny plastic fibers travel through waterways into the ocean, polluting the ecosystems they end up in. Other toxins tend to collect on these pieces of plastic which are mistaken for food and are eaten by wildlife which causes many different health issues that can be fatal. These issues continue up the food chain to our plates.
Microplastic particles aren't only in water and marine life. It can be found in the air we breath, as well as other foods such as salt, honey, and sugar.
Inhaling any sort of particle can cause respiratory irritation or more serious problems. As of right now, we just don't know how these particles are moving and traveling through our bodies and what effects they are having.
Where do microplastics come from?
All plastic sheds pieces of itself. It can take between 10-1000 years for plastic to fully decompose. As it breaks down, it falls apart into smaller and smaller chunks. Most of which will still be around much longer than any of us here today. We rely on plastic for so many things today and that number is only expected to increase in the coming years. It can be found in the medical field, baby bottles and toys, our cars, our kitchens, to our toothbrushes, and so many more places.
What can we do?
Here are a few actions you can take today to reduce your use of plastic:
- Refuse single-use plastic items.
- Properly dispose of plastic (but really all!) waste properly.
- Help to clean litter from the environment.
- Plastic appears in many of our everyday products without us even realizing it. Shopping at stores who are working to reduce and replace plastic items are easy ways to reduce the amount of plastic you are buying.
- Washing our synthetic clothes and materials in a proper microplastic catching wash bag.
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Source: The Guardian