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We Might Be Consuming 5 Grams Of Plastic Every Week

14 June 2019

Shellfish was another big source.

According to an article published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, our understanding of the potential human health effects from exposure to microplastics 'constitutes major knowledge gaps'.

Researchers found out that the largest source of plastic ingestion is through water, both bottled and tap, all over the world.

Humans can be exposed to plastic particles via consumption of seafood and terrestrial food products, drinking water and via the air.

The Australian researchers consulted several databases encompassing more than 20 years worth of studies that used different methods for sampling and analyzing microplastics. For instance, in the United States, 94.4% of tap water samples contained plastic fibres, with an average of 9.6 fibres per litre in comparison to plastic fibres in 72.2% of water samples in Europe and 3.8 fibres per litre.

The average person could be consuming 1,769 particles of plastic every week from water alone, it said.

No Plastic in Nature: Assessing Plastic Ingestion from Nature to People calls for governments to step up and play a key role in ensuring the entire chain in the plastic system, from manufacturers to consumers, are held accountable to the common goal of ending plastic pollution.

The research, by University of Newcastle in Australia, suggests that people are consuming about 2,000 tiny pieces of plastic every week - amounting to about 21 grams a month, just over 250 grams a year.

Plastic pollution is threatening wildlife through microplastic ingestion, entanglement in discarded fishing nets and habitat degradation with beaches and mangroves being littered with plastic. The long-term consequences of plastic ingestion are not yet fully understood.

But if microplastics are shown to damage human health, it will be very hard to remove them from the environment.

"What we do need is political and economic actions to reduce the amounts of plastic being disposed of into the environment and encourage recycling".

"We can not just remove it", said Kavita Prakash-Mani, global conservation director at WWF International.

"If we don't want it in our bodies, we need to stop the millions of tons of plastic that continue leaking into Nature every year".

The organisation is urging people to join the 665,000 people who have signed its global petition calling for global legally-binding treaty to tackle plastic pollution.

We Might Be Consuming 5 Grams Of Plastic Every Week