Fishy on a plastic dishy

Do you love your seafood? Along with your favourite portion of fish, you might also be eating up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic every year, with dozens of those becoming embedded in your tissues.

Microplastics are extremely tiny pieces of plastic debris that end up in our oceans from the disposal of consumer products and industrial waste. We dump huge amounts of plastic waste into the ocean every year, much of it ending up as microplastic.

There are more than five trillion pieces of microplastic in the world’s oceans and the equivalent of one rubbish truck of plastic waste gets added to the sea every minute.

Worringly, studies have found that high concentrations of these plastics stunts the growth of marine life and alters their feeding habits, leading them to prefer eating the plastic over their natural food.

Researchers from the University of Ghent in Belgium believe that microplastics accumulate in the body over time and could be a long term health risk. The amount of plastic absorbed will only get worse as pollution in the oceans increases.

Dr Colin Janssen, who led the research, said the presence of plastic particles in the body was ‘a concern’.

Research has established that they do enter our bodies and can stay there for a while, but where do they go? Are they encapsulated by tissue and forgotten about by the body or are they causing inflammation? Are chemicals leaching out of these plastics and causing toxicity? We simply do not know the answers yet, which is why current research into their properties is so important.

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