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When it comes to sea food, you’ve probably heard claims that some sea life contains high levels of mercury. So, we try to avoid eating seafood known for this. But what about seafood now containing toxic chemicals that come off of plastic? Are you aware that plastic that ends up in the sea, when ingested by fish, ends up in the fish’s bloodstream and tissue? Meaning when you order that delicious seafood platter, you could be ingesting harmful toxins coming from plastic in the ocean.
According to a Ghent University study, over ten thousand plastic fragments can be found in seafood products every year. While the human body can absorb less or around 1% of this amount, over time, the quantities accumulating in our organisms can become harmful to our health.
The results are strengthened by further university studies in Plymouth reporting plastic particles being found in a third of all fish currently caught in the UK, including shellfish, cod, mackerel or haddock. These studies demonstrate that we are, in essence, not just destroying our oceans and fish, but also putting our health at risk.
However, plastic consumption continues to increase. According to data reported by Science Magazine, approximately 8 million metric tons of plastic go into the sea each year. It is estimated that by 2050, the volume of plastic in our oceans with be greater than that of fish. Humans consume plastic in different ways, including microbeads, plastic bottles, plastic bags and packaging material. The fact that this plastic is entering our food supply is something that needs to be addressed, especially since over a tenth of the world population depend on aquaculture products as their daily food source, with consumption almost doubling since the 1960’s.
Demand for seafood continues to increase, and so does our consumption of plastic and pollution of our oceans. The story of plastic in our food supply does not end with fish. New studies have shown that microplastic contamination has also been found in tap water.
As part of an environmental investigation, nonprofit media organization Orb Media analyzed several samples of tap water sourced from different worldwide nations. The results showed a staggering 83% of the samples being contaminated with plastic fiber. The US has been reported to have the highest contamination rate at 94%, while the UK, Germany, and France reported contamination levels of 72%. In addition, Greenpeace reports that 80% of seabird populations have ingested plastic and plastic kills 100,000 marine mammals annually.
We must end plastic consumption, as it pollutes our environment, which in turn results in domino effects that impacts our supply of food and water.
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