Microplastics in the salt that we eat

Source: Microplasticos no sal que comemos | Palavras de Sal
Photo: Kasia Jerrelle

 A few weeks ago the news reported that the seabed is polluted with plastic fibers. Yesterday the newspaper O Público (Portugal) reported that microplastics were found in the salt we eat.

Yes, it’s true, we’ve been tempering our food with microplastics. But, calm down, it is not (yet) a case for alarm. A team of scientists looked for tiny plastic particles in 17 salt brands sold in eight countries, including Portugal. Most were contaminated but with low doses, which hardly have any immediate effect on the health of consumers. The problem is that these “micro pumps” will be in many other products that come from the sea (and not only).

“Plastics are the bad wolf of the 21st century,” warns Ali Karami, a researcher at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Putra University in Malaysia and the lead author of the article published in the journal Scientific Reports. The process is simple. Every year we dump between 5 and 13 million tons of plastic into the oceans. Sunlight and water disperse this garbage to the smallest particles. When they are less than five millimeters they are called “microplastics”. They are therefore part of the diet of many marine species, from zooplankton (which serves as food for other animals) to whales. To this ingredient that poisons the sea, man has been able to add still others like plastic microspheres, which are in many hygiene and cosmetic products (toothpaste, shampoo, shower gel or detergents) and that, after the sewage, also end up In the oceans. But just as in the story of the spell that turns against the sorcerer, there is a piece of plastic we dumped into the sea that is coming back to us, tiny bits, everything we take away from there. Including, as this study proves, salt.

 

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