Seafood eaters ingest up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic every year

Seafood eaters ingest up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic every year with dozens of particles becoming embedded in tissues, scientists have warned, in findings described as ‘sobering’ by the Prince of Wales.

Researchers from the University of Ghent in Belgium believe that microplastics accumulate in the body over time and could be a long term health risk.

And they say the amount of plastic absorbed will only get worse as pollution in the oceans increases, a finding described by the Prince of Wales as ‘sobering.’  The Prince has previously described micro-particles as ‘grey goo.’

Dr Colin Janssen, who led the research, said the presence of plastic particles in the body was ‘a concern’.

. . . The study is the first comprehensive risk assessment of its kind. Scientists calculated that more than 99 per cent  of the microplastics pass through the human body – but the rest are taken up by body tissues.

Mussels feed by filtering around 20 litres of seawater a day, ingesting microplastics by accident.

Most are excreted, but on average each mussel contains one tiny fragment lodged in its body tissue. As plastic pollution builds up in the ocean that will increase.

If current trends continue, by the end of the century people who regularly eat seafood could be consuming 780,000 pieces of plastic a year, absorbing 4,000 of them from their digestive systems.

. . . There are more than five trillion pieces of microplastic in the world’s oceans and the equivalent of one rubbish truck of plastic waste is being added to the sea every minute.

By 2050 that will increase to four trucks every minute. The plastic in the ocean will take decades or even centuries to break down into small pieces, but many scientists believe it will never completely disappear.

Featured Image: A larval perch that has ingested microplastic particles, Credit: Oona Lonnstedt  

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Seafood eaters ingest up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic every year, study shows 

By Sarah Knapton, science editor, The Telegraph

24 January 2017

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/01/24/seafood-eaters-ingest-11000-tiny-pieces-plastic-every-year-study/

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