You might have seen the photos of sea birds hooked up in a plastic bag, straws stuck up in turtle’s nose and big dead sea mammals washed up on the beaches with lots of plastic bottles in their stomach.
Plastic is not just polluting but deteriorating our environment and we are yet to witness the worst. Scientists are focused on finding out how microplastics are polluting the seas and ending up in the food we eat.
What are Microplastics?
Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastics measured in a few millimetres to nanometers. These microplastics are so abundantly present in our surroundings that they are polluting the sea and we are consuming them in the form of seafood. In fact, seafood is just one of the sources of microplastics that are present in our food.
According to Wikipedia:
Microplastics are very small pieces of plastic that pollute the environment. Microplastics are not a specific kind of plastic, but rather any type of plastic fragment that is less than 5 mm in length according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The demand for plastics is so huge that it has made the industry very big. Of all the plastics ever produced, only less than 10% of them have been recycled. The remaining 90% of the plastics have ended up in our natural environment. Imagine how they might have affected the plants and animals. Moreover, 8 million tons of plastics are dumped on the ocean every year. If you are fond of seafood, you might want to look into the probabilities of those microplastics ending up in your food.
How to avoid food with microplastics in them?
According to chemistryworld.com, an average American is presently swallowing 50,000 microplastic particles every year. Personally, I feel the best way is by avoiding dairy and meat products.
Sources of Microplastics
Processed food is changing us biologically and psychologically which in return changing our lifestyle. This change in lifestyle is chaining the environment and naturally present food and nutrients. The drying up of freshwater lakes, the melting of ice sheets in the polar region and extinction of animals and birds are all because we are changing the environment we live in. The food we are supposed to eat to stay healthy is changing in the name of advanced evolution. Microplastics are present in every other food we eat on a daily basis. We have listed the most likely source of microplastics below.
1. Sea Food
Fishes in the sea are swallowing a lot of microplastics that are not visible to the human eye. Though the stomach of the fish is not eaten, majority of the microplastics eaten by the fish is not eaten by humans, there are some traces of microplastics in the other body parts of the fish that humans normally eat.
2. Sea Salt
Studies show that 1 KG of sea bed salt normally contains 600 microplastics. The ominous threat, however, is that even the table salt contains microplastics. Out of 39 brands that were tested for microplastics, 36 came out to be positive.
3. Food Packaging Materials
Almost all ‘ready to eat’ meals are served in plastic packages. There is a high chance of the packaging materials to leave their traces on the food. It’s important to remove the plastic packages and microwave the food in a glass bowl.
- Canned Food: Tin cans come will all kinds of food from sweets to ketchup. These cans are found to have plastic chemicals that are linked with cancerous diseases and heart problems.
- Tea Bags: Avoid tea made using tea bags. The materials used to crimp the edge to seal the bag contains plastics that mixes into the tea that can be lethal to humans.
4. Meat Products
If you turn yourself into a vegetarian or if already is one, you are at the least risk of getting affected by the hazards of microplastics. Prefer green vegetables and fruits rather than meat products, that way you will keep yourself away from the plastic contaminated food source.
Having said that this blog has no intention of turning you into a vegetarian or vegan and we don’t advocate veganism.