Microplastic is a type of plastic debris that has been weathered down into tiny fragments, usually 5 millimeters long or less. Discussion around microplastic usually revolves around how this trash affects ocean life as plastic is regularly found in the bellies of birds and whales. A study has shown that European consumers can ingest up to 11,000 particles a year from shellfish alone. Now this problem is making its way to the kitchen table as microplastics are being found in commercial sea salt around the world.
The two types of plastic most commonly found in sea salt, polypropylene and polyethylene, are two types of durable plastics used in grocery bags, plastic bottle caps, prescription bottles, lunch boxes and more. In addition to salt, these plastics have been found in the ocean, fertilizer, food chains, and even the air we breathe. To top it all off, plastic can take up to 400 years to naturally decompose.
What does this mean for us? Well, it isn’t entirely clear. Plastic hasn’t been around long enough to understand the long-term harmful effects of consumption, but researchers know that accumulation of microplastics can cause particle, chemical, and microbial hazards.
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