When Scientists began sampling sea, rock, and lake salt from around the globe – they were shocked. There are microplastics in most of it.
Recently, as I absentmindedly squeezed my toothpaste out, I noticed small square 'things' in the blue paste. That was my personal introduction to microplastics!
Let's face it. Nudge 13 million metric tons of plastic into the oceans every year, and it has to go somewhere – even if it breaks down into ever smaller particles…
So what the scientists were observing was the dumped plastics returning as sneaky microplastics, hiding in our daily table salt.
Last year TreeHugger reported on research that found salt samples from 8 different countries had plastic contaminants from ocean pollution. A new study has taken a broader look at the problem of plastic in table salt and yes, they conclude that it's much worse than we thought.
National Geographic reports that of 39 salt brands tested, 36 had microplastics in them, (according to the new study by researchers in South Korea and Greenpeace East Asia).
Is our Environment SO polluted?
This new research looked at the relationship between microplastics in table salt and its levels is in the environment where the salt came from. Surprise, surprise! They were pretty well related.
“The findings suggest that human ingestion of microplastics via marine products is strongly related to emissions in a given region,” said Seung-Kyu Kim, a marine science professor at Incheon National University in South Korea.
39 samples came from 21 countries in Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Asia. While they varied in the density of the contaminants, but the Asian brands were especially high.
The highest quantities of microplastics were found in salt sold in Indonesia. Asia is a hot spot for plastic pollution, and Indonesia—with its huge coastline—ranked in an unrelated 2015 study as suffering the second-worst level of plastic pollution in the world.
The only 3 salts plastic-free came from Taiwan, China, and France.
Of the three types of salt sampled – sea, lake, and rock – sea salt won the prize for highest microplastics levels, next was lake salt and then rock salt.
This new study estimates that an average adult consumes approximately 2,000 microplastics per year through salt. These particles are less than five millimeters (0.2 inches) in size. They are often the same color of salt, so it's very difficult to see them.
What is the Risk of Microplastics?
Determining the health risks of ingesting microplastics has been tricky so far and nobody has been able to come to a scientific conclusion. It's enough to say that at the rates we're consuming the stuff – from our seafood to our table salt to drinking water even the dust in our homes – it can't be good. It's awful for mice, that's for sure – it can't possibly be much better for humans.
For me, I am not going to live in denial.
The science is obvious. I, we, you.. we are all walking pollution centres and it's naive in the extreme to dismiss the bleedingly obvious connection between cancer and this unnatural internal invasion.
That's why I spend more on food that I know is certifiably organic.
That's why I do take supplements that help me maintain full-throttle metabolism (which I need to have if I expect my body to beat the toxins.
That's why I drink the best possible water.
That's why I live in a clean air environment.
And that's why I take every opportunity to support movements directed towards changing this absurd world aberration.