A Dietary Pattern That Includes Few Or No Animal Products Microplastics and How to Reduce Ingesting Them in Your Food and Drink

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Microplastics and How to Reduce Ingesting Them in Your Food and Drink

Scientists have discovered that plastic is everywhere in the ocean, in our rivers and in the air. Smaller pieces blow around in the wind and every year it accumulates. Over time, it has more, because plastic is not natural, it does not rot.

The size of this plastic pollution ranges from tiny microscopic flakes to whole plastic bags, and up to the scale of large trawl nets. All this endangers all wildlife. It is especially harmful to marine life because ingesting these tiny pieces of debris is harmful to their health.

But it doesn’t end there. The impact on human health of the smaller sizes of these plastics in our bodies is more worrying. It can cause cancer and has been shown to disrupt important cell membranes. At best of all creatures, she tends to hang around and get in the way, and that can’t be good.

What are Microplastics?

Microplastics are the small plastic particles (less than 5 mm in size) that break off when the plastic is physically damaged or oxidized.

These particles are so small that many of them cannot be seen without a microscope. But they move through our rivers and ocean currents that move great distances according to global circulation patterns, rather like confetti.

Only recently have scientists begun to look for the “hot spots” where these particles accumulate. The purpose of such studies is to collect data on the amount and potential risks that exist from these small pieces of trash. However, many problems are already known.

Where are the microplastics?

Microplastics are everywhere. They enter our body with our food. For example, they can enter through the nostrils of farm animals from tire dust blown from roads.

And even our water supplies are affected when they enter the rivers that are used to supply our tap water.

Therefore, many scientists are trying to limit the use of plastic.

Microplastics in food

Microplastics are found in food. A recent study in Australia found that people were ingesting up to twenty grams of microplastics every week. In addition, consumers in other countries may consume up to four kilograms of microplastics each month. Some sources of plastic are likely to contain toxic chemicals harmful to humans, while others may not.

Reason for Concern

“How can plastic shards harm anyone,” you may ask. After all, surely plastic is only made of long-chain polymers of carbon and hydrogen? These two elements are some of the most common on earth.

However, the concern does not come from the plastic resin when it is clean. Some forms of plastic are used in their pure form with nothing added. Other plastic polymers would be too brittle without the addition of plasticizers. Accumulative substances are also added by manufacturers to reduce the cost of plastic materials as well.

What chemical additives are in plastic?

Plastic manufacturers rarely disclose what additional plasticizers their products contain. They say such information is a trade secret. No information is available on any tests they perform to check how safe their additives are for human health and the environment.

The threat no one saw coming

Until now, this was seen as perfectly acceptable. Who would try to eat plastic goods anyway, let alone plastic things that aren’t meant to go anywhere near food?

But they never thought ahead to predict the sheer volume of plastic and how much plastic waste would end up in the environment. Nor did people understand how being so close to the density of water meant it would move around for so long. Or how it would explode and millions of tiny pieces would wash up, concentrating it again on the beaches.

Actions you can take to reduce microplastics in your diet

Do not put plastic containers in the dishwasher

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding heating plastics in the dishwasher, as some heat-treated plastics can leach chemicals. For this reason, it is important to avoid using plastic in the dishwasher. In the end, it is important to limit the consumption of all types of plastic.

Avoid buying products that contain microbeads

If you buy products containing microbeads (in countries where these are not already banned), you may not realize the negative effect. Some say they make your bathroom feel too grainy. You may accidentally get some every time you use the product.

The World Health Organization’s report on the matter called for more research. And meanwhile it called on governments to ban the production and use of microplastics by 2025.

So, from now on, avoid buying cosmetics and other products that contain microplastics with germs, like some toothpastes and some perfume products.

At the very least, always wash your hands or rinse your mouth after using cosmetics or toothpaste that contain microplastics.

Eat seafood in moderation

We eat seafood contaminated with microplastics all the time. Just change your diet and stop eating fish all the time.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have conducted a study on the effects of microplastics on fish, birds and other animals. And they’re looking for other ways to reduce microplastics in the ocean.

Avoid eating processed foods

Another way to limit microplastics in your body is to stop consuming processed foods that contain microplastics. Unlike traditional meat, which can contain larger particles of plastic, processed foods can have more than 10 percent microplastics per serving. That’s a lot of plastic!

And this is not the only way that microplastics enter our bodies.

Supporting action to limit the use of single-use plastics

Despite some research advances, there is still no clear answer as to whether microplastics are harmful to human health. Meanwhile, it is quite logical to assume that they are.

Many people are already voting against single-use plastic every time they buy a product by choosing it in a non-plastic returnable bottle. If you are concerned about microplastics just join the movement and do the same!

Avoid bottled water

One of the biggest contributors to microplastics is drinking water. But according to a recent study, bottled water contains twice as many plastic particles as tap water. So, avoid water that comes in plastic bottles.

Fortunately, there is now a way to reduce the amount of plastic in tap water by using the microplastic filter available in some filtration products.

Microplastics in other things we eat

But what about the rest of our diet? There are no definitive answers, but research shows that microplastics can be found in everything from meat to seaweed. In addition to our drinking water, it is found in beer and sea salt.

Microplastics are so small and invisible to the naked eye that it is easy to keep ingesting them unintentionally if they are in our environment (our homes and offices). After all, there is only one way to avoid them and that is for everyone to drastically reduce the single use of plastic packaging and other plastic items.

Conclusion

Microplastics are plastic items that are so small that they are being invisibly washed down the drain and into the ocean almost everywhere all the time.

There are many ways to reduce the amount of microplastics in your diet by making dietary choices in favor of foods with low concentrations of microplastics.

To limit microplastics entering your body even further, the first and most obvious method is to limit your use of microbead-based personal care products. If the ones you usually use don’t include microbeads, there are other steps you can take to reduce this risk.

If you’re still concerned about your microplastic consumption, look into cleaning up the environment within your living space. There are several steps we can take to reduce the amount of microplastics in our home and global environment by pressuring local politicians for action.

But for the rest of our time, we can still participate in local cleanups, reduce the amount of plastic in our trash, and always recycle our waste.

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