In lab experiments, Laforsch and his team tested the potential for lake invertebrates to start the chain of passing plastic through the food web. They found that tiny freshwater animals, such as water fleas, will indeed devour the plastic.
NEWS: Lakes Are Loaded With Chemicals, Even Cocaine
Laforsch hadn't expected to find such a heavy load of plastic in the azure waters of subalpine Lake Garda.
"The mere existence of microplastic particles in a subalpine headwater suggests an even higher relevance of plastic particles in lowland waters," Laforsch said.
As an occasional fisherman and frequent pescavore, I wonder how much plastic makes its way into the lakes and ponds here in Missouri...and how much of that plastic ends up in me. When I eat fresh-caught, local fish, it seems clean and safe. Perhaps, I have actually been eating bits of plastic along with my bass.
IMAGE: A view of Lake Garda, Italy. (Thomas Cristofoletti/Getty Images)