- A recent study: All seafood is contaminated with microplastics

A recent study: All seafood is contaminated with microplastics

Plastic was not made to be consumed by humans in their food, yet they are required to consume it. Small remnants of these synthetic polymers have now leaked into the air, food and water, and avoiding them has become an almost impossible battle.

A study of five popular seafood purchased from a market in Australia revealed how ubiquitous these micro-pollutants are.

The study was published in the journal Science & Technology Anveromental ( the Environmental Science & Technology ) Number of July 2020, and a statement addressed to Exeter University (site of University of Exeter Of ) 12 July / August this date.

All species are polluted
The study started after purchasing 5 blue crabs, 10 farmed tiger prawns, 10 wild squid, 10 farmed osyters and 10 wild sardines. The researchers found plastic traces in all samples without exception.

"Looking at an average serving, a seafood eater could be exposed to approximately 0.7 milligrams of plastic when consuming an average serving of oysters or squid," explains Francesca Ribeiro, who studies dietary exposure to plastic at the University of Queensland, Australia. 
The ocean is the ultimate plastic basin in the world, and understanding how contaminated the marine food web is is part of the challenge (Pixabay)

When eating sardines, they take up to 30 mg of plastic. For comparison, 30 milligrams is the average weight of a grain of rice. We still don't know what this does to our bodies, but we need to know.

The ocean is the ultimate basin for plastics in the world, and understanding how polluted the marine food web is with these contaminants is part of the challenge.

And after eating the plastics that we made ourselves, it was found that many marine species were fighting physical damage and oxidative stress, and some even died, like the shore whales that we found stuffed with litter, according to the study.

Variations by species
The risks to land mammals from plastic are not known, and although we probably don't swallow as much plastic as these whales, we need to know how much we actually consume to find out if we are at risk.

"Our findings show that the amount of plastic present varies greatly between species, and varies between individuals of the same species," said Ribeiro.

Using a new mass spectrometry technology that simultaneously scans five different types of common plastic, the researchers found that squid on the Australian market had the least traces of microplastics, while sardines preserved the most.
The results of the study show that the amount of plastic present varies greatly between species (Pixabay).

Polyethylene, the plastic used in films and films, was found in the highest concentration, while polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC, was the most prevalent in each sample.

This does not contradict what other recent studies have found. As seafood is not the only one that contains microplastics (sugars, salts, alcohol and water also contain them). Research has shown that this category of foods accounts for most of our plastic consumption.

In places where seafood is consumed in abundance, studies indicate that some people ingest at least 11,000 particles of microplastics annually.

Standard method of study
The problem is that many of these studies use different methodologies, and report results in different ways. In addition, many do not identify individual types of plastics and rely on visual observations alone.

Hence, having a global method for carefully testing tissue samples for different types of plastics would allow scientists to compare results from around the world more easily. This new technology looks like a promising avenue, allowing scientists to focus on smaller amounts of plastic with more precision than before.

"We don't fully understand the risks to humans from eating plastic," says marine scientist Tamara Galloway from the University of Exeter, "but this new method will make it easier for us to discover that."
Source : Australian Press

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