• Ashley Curtin

It’s official: new study confirms we’re all eating plastic


A new study confirms that, on average, humans consume 50,000 bits of plastic a year and inhale nearly the same amount.

Microplastics are found everywhere. And a new study confirms that, on average, humans consume 50,000 bits of plastic a year and inhale nearly the same amount. The study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, concludes that “microplastics are ubiquitous across ecosystems,” EcoWatch reports.

The researchers examined a number of foods and drinks and also reviewed “26 previous studies that analysed the amounts of microplastic particles in fish, shellfish, added sugars, salts, alcohol, tap or bottled water, and air. They then extrapolated US dietary guidelines to calculate how many particles people would eat annually,” EcoWatch reports.

“We don’t know a huge amount,” says Kieran Cox from the University of Victoria in Canada, who led the study. “There are some major data gaps that need to get filled.” It is also “highly likely there is going to be large amounts of plastic particles in [processed foods, breads, meat and dairy]. You could be heading into the hundreds of thousands,” Cox adds.

“Individuals who meet their recommended water intake through only bottled sources may be ingesting an additional 90,000 microplastics annually, compared to 4,000 microplastics for those who consume only tap water,” the study reported.

While the dangers of these microplastics are still under review, researchers believe the plastic enters human tissue and then causes immune reactions and/or releases toxins into the body, the American Chemical Society reported.

“Removing single-use plastic from your life and supporting companies that are moving away from plastic packaging is going to have a non-trivial impact,” Cox concludes.

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Image credit: DisobeyArt via Getty Images


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