The first study done to estimate the amount of microplastics Americans eat each year has some unpleasant results. According to research published in Environmental Science and Technology, the average American adult consumes 50,000 microplastic particles each year. That number jumps to between 74,000 and 121,000 particles if combined with the average number of particles inhaled.
The researchers used existing data on the content of microplastics in popular foods, such as fish, sugar, salt, beer, and water, and multiplied these averages based on the US government's daily dietary consumption guidelines. Because the data Existing products only cover about 15 percent of Americans' caloric intake, the researchers believe these estimates are modest and that the actual amount of microplastics consumed each day is much higher.
Research also concludes that water from plastic water bottles is one of the highest sources of ingestion of microplastics. According to The Guardian, water in plastic bottles has 22 times more microplastics than tap water.
Plastic materials are not biodegradable, which means they never decompose. Instead, they exist in landfills, oceans, and ecosystems for centuries, slowly breaking down into smaller pieces through erosion and weatherization. Eventually, the particles become so small that they are difficult to detect, but they can be easily ingested and inhaled by animals such as birds, turtles, fish, and apparently humans as well.
The implications for human health are still unknown, as there are no long-term studies yet; however, there is concern that microplastics could enter human tissue and cause toxicity and allergic reactions.
"Eliminating single-use plastic from your life and supporting companies that are moving away from plastic packaging will have a non-trivial impact," said study leader Kieran Cox of the University of Victoria. "The facts are simple. We are producing a lot of plastic and it is ending up in ecosystems, of which we are part ”.
Article in English The Guardian