There is a question: is it worth to be afraid of microplastic in food
Most of us use plastic every day, we are talking about donuts in plastic packaging or a lunch box, which we take to work . This material, as is known, is not biodegradable. But over time, it breaks up into tiny pieces of plastic, called micro-plastic, which can be harmful, first, for the environment, and secondly, for our health.
New research shows that microplastics, in addition to being present in the air, is found in certain foods (and especially in seafood ). Scientists still can not say exactly how serious this danger is for us. Nevertheless, there are a number of scientific conclusions that are useful to keep in mind.
What is microplastic
According to Healthline, microplastics are small pieces of plastic that somehow get into the environment and interact with a person. Most often we are talking about plastic particles with a diameter of no more than 5 mm.
Actively studied the microplastic began in the 1970s. At the same time it was found that most of it is contained in the oceanic environment. To date, because of the increasing use of plastic in rivers and oceans, there is much more microplasticity than 40 years ago. Scientists say that annually about 8.8 million tons of plastic waste enter the ocean, of which 276,000 tons float in the water , and the rest are likely to have settled to the bottom or were thrown ashore.
What products can contain micro-plastic
Microplastic penetrates into a wide variety of environments, and food is not an exception. In one study, where 15 brands of sea ??salt were “involved,” it was found that almost every pack contained plastic particles. In general, there were about 600 per kilogram of salt. Another study on the same topic found that up to 660 microplastic particles accounted for a kilogram of honey and up to 109 microplastic fragments per liter of beer .
However, the most common food source of micro-plastic is still seafood. And this is quite logical: since there is a lot of microplating in the water, it is consumed by fish and other marine organisms that take it for food. Scientists add that microplastics are found even in deep-sea organisms, and mussels and oysters have the greatest risk of accumulating it in themselves.
A study of 2014 published in the Environmental Pollution showed that mussels and oysters caught for consumption in food contain 0.36-0.47 microplastic particles per gram. That is, seafood fans can consume up to 11,000 micro-plastic particles per year.
How dangerous is the micro-plastic
Today, scientists are well aware that the microplastic is contained in the foods that we eat. But they do not undertake to assert anything about how it affects our health. So – we warn – all the data presented below should be taken with a note “potentially.”
It has been found, for example, that phthalates, a type of chemical used in the manufacture of plastics, can promote the growth of breast cancer cells . However, this study was conducted in a petri dish, so the results can not be extrapolated to humans, as the authors themselves write in The FASEB Journal.
In another study, the effect of microplasticity on laboratory mice was studied. Here it was possible to see that gradually the microplastic accumulated in the liver, kidneys and intestines, increasing the level of molecules of oxidative stress in the body . In addition, it increased in rodents the number of molecules that can be toxic to the brain in the long run.
Scientists also found that microparticles, including microplastics, pass from the intestine into the bloodstream and some other organs, which can have negative consequences for health. A human study showed that in the lungs of 87% of participants there is a microplastic, which, incidentally, got here no longer with food, but from the air.
How to protect yourself from microplasty, if you still want to do something? Researchers say that there is no need to completely abandon plastic containers and shellfish, but in the case of the first, you can reduce their number in the home, and in the case of the second – buy only quality products and only sellers that you trust.