Here’s What to Know About Microplastics and Your Health

06-07-2019 04:33 am

Plastics are all around us, from the polyester clothes we wear and the packaging that contains our food to construction materials in our homes and more.

Tiny pieces of these plastics have even made their way into our food chain.

Now two reports have put a spotlight on how much plastic we’re ingesting via foods and drinks.

Researchers found that people are at risk for ingesting around 5 grams of plastic per week. That’s equivalent to a credit card.

And earlier this month, in the newest issue of the journal Environmental Science and Technology, researchers that Americans consume an estimated 39,000 to 52,000 microplastic particles per year from seafood, water, sugars, salts, and alcohol alone.

People who rely on bottled water might be ingesting 90,000 more microplastic particles per year on average than those who drink only tap water, the authors warn.

“If you’re concerned about consuming plastic in beverages, then you’d be wise to avoid bottled water,” ssistant professor at Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis who has studied microplastic contamination, told Healthline.

But that strategy alone is unlikely to stop microplastic particles from entering our bodies due to the ubiquity of plastics in our homes and wider environments.

“Even if you had a reverse-osmosis system in your house and you’re drinking super clean water, leaving your cup on the countertop leaves it vulnerable to plastics that are coming off of your clothing,” Kosuth said.

“We’d like to think that we as individuals can just make choices in our own lives to help protect us from these exposures, but sometimes we have to work together to encourage industry to give us alternatives [to plastic products],” she added.

Back to blog