If you think about your day-to-day diet, chances are you know how many carbs, the amount of proteins, the kinds of vegetables and the number oftreats you eat. What you don’t consider is that you’re also consuming a frighteningly large quantity of plastic.
No, that’s not a typo.
A new study published by the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology found that the average American consumes 39000-52000 microplastic particles per year.
When you take inhalation into account, the numbers soar to 74000-121000.
Are you a fan of drinking bottled water? Then those numbers goes up again.
“Microplastics are ubiquitous across ecosystems, yet the exposure risk to humans is unresolved,” the study says.
“Individuals who meet their recommended water intake through only bottled sources may be ingesting an additional 90000 microplastics annually, compared to 4000 microplastics for those who consume only tap water.”
The study compared the number of microplastics found in food such as fish and shellfish plus drinks including alcohol, tap and bottled water, to the recommended daily intake for the American diet.
They even looked at the air ingested.
The study results are scary, but what’s even scarier is that the study’s authors say that “these values are likely underestimates” because of the methodological and data limitations.
Microplastics make their way into the animals we eat because, as plastic slowly breaks down, it turns into tiny microfibers so small they’re naked to the human eye and easy for animals to ingest.
There are no clear answers as to what effect the long-term exposure to microplastics have on our health, but research suggests chemicals such as bisphenols and phthalates, which are found in plastic, disrupt our hormones.
To reduce your plastic footprint, tackle your dependence on single use plastics, including bottles, bags and take-away containers because plastic containers can shed particles into our food and water.