LivingWe eat 114 microplastics in each food

We eat 114 microplastics in each food

Each meal we eat daily could contain, on average, more than 100 tiny plastic particles, known as microplastics, according to a study carried out by the University of Heriot-Watt, based in Scotland and collected by the journal Enviromental Pollution.

Microplastics probably come from synthetic fabrics and soft furniture like sofas (your upholstery), which gradually break down before joining the house dust. This powder can fall into food and be consumed by humans.

The amount is quite striking. In general, they estimate that a person can eat between 13,731 and 68,415 microplastic particles each year , just by eating at home.

Currently, scientists do not know the true impact of the consumption of microplastics in our body, since research on this topic is very meager. However, there is great concern in some quarters that ingestion of these particles may pose a risk to human health.

For their study, the experts set out to compare the number of plastic fibers found in mussels with that found in regular homemade food. They chose mussels, as these and swordfish are the species that accumulate the most toxic metals in terms of seafood.

Less microplastics in mussels than in house food

To find out, they placed Petri dishes with sticky traps near food plates in three different houses. At the end of the 20-minute lunch, the researchers found 14 plastic particles, each 0.2 to 2 millimeters long and 0.01 to 0.05 millimeters wide, in each container.

According to his calculations, the equivalent would be 114 microplastics in a normal plate (since our food plates are larger than the Petri dishes used in the experiment). Thus, a man swallows with his daily food about 68 fibers of plastic particles per year on average. If we add the time spent in the kitchen (about 20 minutes), then the number increases to 207,000.

In contrast, they found fewer than two plastic fibers, on average, in each mussel.

“These results may surprise some people who can expect the plastic fibers in shellfish to be higher than those in house dust,” says Ted Henry, leader of the work.

The scale of microplastic contamination in all areas of the environment is becoming clearer. We know that the oceans are heavily polluted with microplastics and we can even breathe plastic particles through the air. However, we now know that these microplastics may be accessing our body from our own home.

 

The truth is that the effects of plastic pollution on land and in fresh water are not less promising. They have received little research attention compared to marine plastic pollution, but current evidence suggests that plastic pollution is as prevalent in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems as it is in the oceans, where it is found from the equator to the poles.

 

Tips for cleaning the air of microplastics

 

– Open the windows regularly
– Vacuum, sweep and clean regularly
– Use an air purifier or humidifier
– Use beeswax candles (lead-free wicks)
– Make a household spray with water and a tablespoon of baking soda. It will cool and disinfect the air by trapping particles.
– Take off your shoes when entering the house

 

Referencia: Low levels of microplastics (MP) in wild mussels indicate that MP ingestion by humans is minimal compared to exposure via household fibres fallout during a meal. Ana I.Catarino, Valeria Macchia, William G.Sanderson, Richard C.Thompson, Theodore B.Henry. Environmental Pollution 2018 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.02.069

 

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