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Microplastics are an increasing problem. “It is not visible, but we must be aware that it is ubiquitous.”

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Bottled water may contain 100 times more plastic than previous studies showed – these are the conclusions of scientists after testing water available in supermarkets. Plastic is the curse of our times – it is everywhere. According to scientists, we eat 5 grams of it a month.

They are innocently called “mermaid tears”. However, the threat they pose is enormous. For several days now, the sea has been throwing millions of plastic pellets onto Spanish beaches. It is a raw material for the production of plastics. It comes from the deck of a German shipowner’s container ship, from which six containers full of plastic fell out. For now, it is a local problem, but it will soon become global. – This granulate will go really far. It will probably reach the Arctic Ocean and even the coast of the US or Canada, says Liam de Haan, a member of a research group dealing with microplastics.

Along the way, the granules will be swallowed by various animals, because the granules have a diameter of one to five millimeters. – They can harm many species. They will block their digestive tracts, prevent them from reproducing, and also affect their body chemistry, adds Liam de Haan.

READ ALSO: Nanoplastics may promote Parkinson’s disease

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Plastic waste does not decompose, but when exposed to water, sun and air, it breaks into small pieces. And this is how micro and nanoplastics are created. – Plastic is present both in the digestive tracts of fish, and research shows that microplastics can be incorporated into cells and muscle tissue of fish – explains Dr. Hab. engineer Katarzyna Ewa Stępanowska from the Faculty of Science, Food and Fisheries at the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin.

Plastic particles have already been found in the most inaccessible places on the planet. From the deepest ocean trenches to the peak of Mount Everest.

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A global problem

The worst thing is how plastic ends up in our bodies. – We eat about five grams of plastic a week, which is equivalent to the weight of a credit card – notes Dr. Karol Mierzejewski from the Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology of the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn. We eat some of the plastic with fish, seafood and sea salt. However, there is another way – together with water from plastic bottles.

The results of the latest research published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” are downright shocking. Scientists tested water from bottles bought in a supermarket and found that one liter may contain an average of 240,000 plastic particles. This is even 100 times more than previous studies showed. – Microplastics are not visible, but we must be aware that they are ubiquitous – emphasizes Dr. Hab. engineer Katarzyna Ewa Stepanowska.

READ ALSO: Rivers and microplastics. “Objects with a very large surface area and low mass will be most susceptible to fragmentation.”

Microplastics are not indifferent to our health. Although the International Bottled Water Association, in response to the latest study, claims that there is no consensus on the potential health risks, subsequent studies in recent years show increasingly dramatic conclusions.

We already know for sure that the smallest plastic particles enter the bloodstream. – In two hours, some of the substances are able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier into the brain – warns Tomasz Karauda, ​​a doctor from the Department of Pulmonary Diseases at the University Clinical Hospital in Łódź.

Additionally, microplastics affect our hormonal balance and fertility. It can cause many diseases. – Microplastics may influence obesity, metabolic diseases, insulin resistance, cancer and diseases related to the cardiovascular system – enumerates Dr. Karol Mierzejewski.

Main photo source: ENEX

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