About a year ago researchers at New York University reported that microplastics are present in the sea salt we eat. It’s not surprising considering how much plastic is floating in our oceans polluting it, killing its wildlife in the process and creating a toxic soup.
And now new research out of South Korea and published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, reports that 90 percent of salt brands commonly used in homes around the world contain the tiny pieces of plastic and that the average adult ingests about 2,000 microplastics per year due to the presence of plastics in the world’s oceans and lakes.
Examining 39 brands sold in 21 countries, researchers at Incheon National University and Greenpeace East Asia found microplastics in 36 of them. The three table salts that did not contain the substance were sold in France, Taiwan and China—but Asia overall was the site of some of the worst plastic pollution.
The study “shows us that microplastics are ubiquitous,” Sherri Mason, who conducted last year’s salt study at the State University of New York at Fredonia, told National Geographic. “It’s not a matter of if you are buying sea salt in England, you are safe.”
The more we consume plastics, the more we literally consume plastics https://t.co/6d1SZ9YG65
— Nat Geo Travel (@NatGeoTravel) October 18, 2018
Fish and other marine animals ingest microplastics, sometimes through the food chain, according to a study published by the National Institutes of Health earlier this year. Trash like milk jugs, drinking straws, and plastic utensils end up in oceans and other waterways, breaking down into microplastics through forces such as waves, weather, and sunlight.
More than 800 animal species were contaminated with plastic, an increase of almost 70 percent since the 1970s, according to a United Nations report.
What can you do?
Reduce the amount of plastic you use daily, and vote! It’s the only way we will see the kind of change we need to reduce our dependence on plastic.