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. Published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, the study concluded that “microplastics are ubiquitous across ecosystems,” EcoWatch reported.
The study looked at a number of food and drinks to come to their conclusion. The researchers also reviewed “26 previous studies that analyzed the amounts of microplastic particles in fish, shellfish, added sugars, salts, alcohol, tap or bottled water, and air. They then extrapolated U.S. dietary guidelines to calculate how many particle people would eat annually,” EcoWatch reported.
“We don’t know a huge amount,” Kieran Cox, at the University of Victoria in Canada, who led the research, said. “There are some major data gaps that need to get filled.”
Processed foods, breads, meat and dairy are also “highly likely there is going to be large amounts of plastic particles in these. You could be heading into the hundreds of thousands,” Cox said.
“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 to enter the human tissue and then cause immune reactions and/or release toxins into the human 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 said.