The Hidden Dangers of Microplastics: Surprising Sources You Never Knew About
Welcome to the world of microplastics, tiny plastic particles that unknowingly make their way into our bodies.
Today I'm here to shed light on the alarming presence of microplastics in unexpected places.
According to data from 2018 - the average American consumes 5 grams of microplastics PER WEEK. That's the equivalent of 1 credit card per week - and those numbers are based on old data - so it's probably even higher than that now.
These minuscule particles pose a significant risk to our health, with studies showing their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, disrupt our gut microbiome, and act as carriers for toxic chemicals. Join me as we uncover some of the high-microplastic sources you probably had no idea about.
1. Plastic Cutting Boards: A Hidden Culprit
Did you know that your plastic cutting board could be a major contributor to your annual microplastic intake? Recent studies have revealed that polyethylene cutting boards can release approximately 51 grams of microplastics into your food each year. Surprisingly, chopping vegetables generates even more microplastics than simply cutting without vegetables - one reason Scientists might have taken so long to figuring this out. Switching to a wood cutting board, such as cedar, Acacia, maple, or oak, not only helps reduce microplastics but also offers natural antimicrobial properties.
Seaweed, a staple in sushi and various dishes, holds a secret. Due to the widespread pollution of our oceans with plastic, seaweed absorbs microplastics from its surroundings, which ultimately ends up on our plates. This also extends to seafood, making Sushi a significant source of microplastic ingestion.
3. Clams and Mussels: Tiny Filter Feeders with a Big Problem
As filter feeders, clams and mussels are highly susceptible to microplastic contamination. Unlike fish, where we typically remove the gastrointestinal tract before consuming, clams and mussels are consumed whole, including the plastic they have ingested. These small shellfish act as vessels for the trojan horse effect, absorbing chemicals and bacteria present in their environment, resulting in potential health risks for consumers.
4. Plastic in Your Home: Unexpected Exposure
Microplastics can infiltrate your living space in more ways than you might think. Many household items, such as clothes and certain plastic products, degrade over time, releasing microplastics into the environment. These particles can then settle in dust, leading to inadvertent ingestion through inhalation or contact with the skin. Combatting this issue can be as simple as regular vacuuming, particularly with a HEPA air filter, and minimizing dust accumulation by removing shoes at the entrance.
5. Salt: A Salty Microplastic Surprise
Salt, a pantry staple, has unfortunately not escaped the microplastic dilemma. Given the widespread contamination of our oceans, salt harvested from polluted areas can contain high levels of microplastics. While American salt generally fares better in terms of microplastic content, salts from certain regions, such as Asia or England, exhibit higher contamination. Opting for American sea salt can be a wise choice to minimize microplastic exposure.
Microplastics are pervasive and have made their way into various aspects of our lives, often without our knowledge. Understanding the surprising sources of microplastics is the first step towards minimizing our exposure and safeguarding our health.
By making conscious choices like switching to wooden cutting boards, being mindful of seafood consumption, reducing plastic use at home, and selecting salt from less contaminated sources, we can take small yet impactful actions to mitigate the microplastic threat. Let's join forces in combating microplastics and preserving our well-being for generations to come.