Microplastics – Should you be worried?

According to a report in the journal Science the growth rate of plastic production from 1950 to 2015 has been around 8.4%. Scientists have discovered microplastic contamination in the deepest parts of the ocean, and at altitudes greater than five miles above the sea.

What Are Microplastics?According to research, microplastics may be detected in the air we breathe, the dust that collects on our floors, and the seafood we purchase at the grocery store. Researchers define microplastics as any plastic particles larger than 1 micrometer but smaller than 5 millimeters.

microplastics were found most recently in the bloodstreams of donors, patients awaiting surgery and placentas. The research is only just beginning to understand what all of this means. Are we in danger?

 

Microplastics Research
Researchers have been studying the effects of microplastics on humans for over 20 years. Most studies have focused on marine life. The few studies on microplastics in humans indicate that we inhale or swallow between dozens and 100,000 microplastic fragments every day.

Theories of Harm
Researchers believe that microplastics can cause tissue irritation if they are small enough. This is because they are foreign substances in our body. Some people compare their presence to asbestos fibers and how they can cause cancer in our lungs.

Some people believe that when manufacturers add chemicals to their plastics, like stabilizers or colorings, these toxins will enter our system with microplastics. It is generally believed that the more chemicals we allow to enter our bloodstream the greater the long-term problems.

Reduce your exposure to
Microplastics are abundant in the air, so there is not much you can to do. You can use plastic for heating your food up in the microwave at home, and you can also stop drinking out of plastic cups. When taking water on the go, use a stainless steel or glass tumbler instead of a plastic one. You can also use cool water to wash any plastic that you do use. Research shows that heated plastics tend to leak more microplastic.

We will learn more as research advances about the impact of these tiny slivers on our lives. Until then, you should be aware of how much plastic you are using and try to limit it.

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