The human race has created a lot of plastic which in turn piles waste, contributing to pollution. The environment that had impacts from the production of plastic waste indirectly affected the human race. Now, our actions are getting back to us with stronger effects, affecting not just the human race but all other species with microplastic effects.
What are microplastics?
Microplastics, as the term suggests, are extremely tiny plastic particles smaller than 5mm. There are two types of microplastics: primary microplastics, manufactured as tiny particles like the microbeads used in cosmetic items, and secondary microplastics, broken down into smaller particles from products like plastic bottles, covers, fabrics (synthetic material and not natural fibers) over time. The ultraviolet rays from the sun contribute majorly to plastic breaking down.
How do we consume microplastics?
We consume microplastics in several ways. Seafood is one of the means that carry microplastics into our digestive system. The oceans globally are polluted and dumped with plastics. Microplastics in the ocean get ingested by sea life like fish, clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops. In turn, we consume these creatures along with the microplastics in them.
Seafood is just one of the forms. There are even chances of breathing in microplastics or consuming them as drinks and other edible items, like honey, beer, and bottled water. The food packaged in plastic containers will flake minute particles, and there are chances of these entering our bodies.
Microplastics in food- health risks
Consuming microplastics makes our bodies face neurotoxicity. This interrupts our metabolism and in the long run, might even turn carcinogenic. Microplastics can accumulate in the system and obstruct the gastrointestinal tract. It can eventually lead to the individual feeling less hungry, consuming less food, and even lead to starvation.
How to avoid microplastics in food?
Following a few ways, one can avoid microplastic effects and the substance getting into our bodies to some extent.
- Avoid plastic containers and cutleries for consuming food. It will reduce the level of fragments that directly enter. It will help in reducing the risks of microplastics in food packaging.
- Avoid or reduce consuming mollusks, as they have the highest rate of microplastics compared to any seafood.
- Filter the water you drink thoroughly and reduce the direct consumption of liquids from plastic bottles.
- Avoid storing provisions in plastic containers. Instead, switch to glass or metal containers to store them and keep them away from any toxins.
- Do not microwave in plastic containers. Also, reduce the consumption of microwavable meals. Those meals are usually packed in plastic containers, and the plastic that is already hazardous when exposed to the waves can be even more harmful.
- Avoid consuming processed foods, as the process of making and the factory procedures might leave microplastic residues on a higher level.
- Minimize the use of synthetic fabrics, as those can contribute more to the pile of pollution created, that in turn contribute to microplastics.
- Dust and vacuum your surroundings to get rid of the microplastics in and around you. The fabrics that are used to clean/dust around can also leave a microplastic residue. Vacuuming is an effective way to get rid of it.
This blog hopes to bring awareness about microplastics in food. Kindly remember to take the minute steps that can collectively lead to a revolution. Let us be aware of the microplastic effects and stop the exploitation and blunders the human race has caused.