Microplastic particles from polar fleece fabrics agitated in a household washing machine. (Credit: Monique Raap)

Microplastic particles from polar fleece fabrics agitated in a household washing machine. (Credit: Monique Raap)

Humans unknowingly eat 100,000 particles of plastic per year, says new UVic study

Micro-plastics smaller than sesame seeds

Humans unknowingly eat spiders, calories and now, according to a new University of Victoria study, they’re eating micro-plastics.

According to the study, humans are consuming tens of thousands of plastic particles per year, a problem they say requires further research to understand the potential health impacts.

Microplastics are pieces of plastic under five millimetres in diameter — smaller than a sesame seed — that come from the degradation of larger plastic products or the shedding of particles from water bottles, plastic packaging and synthetic clothes.

READ ALSO: Salmon, whales ingest microplastic: study

The particles can easily sneak into our bodies undetected through the food we eat or the air we breathe.

Kieran Cox, a marine biology PhD candidate in UVic Biologist Francis Juanes’ lab, says human reliance on plastic packaging and food processing methods is a growing problem.

“Our research suggests microplastics will continue to be found in the majority — if not all — of items intended for human consumption,” says Cox. “We need to reassess our reliance on synthetic materials and alter how we manage them to change our relationship with plastics.”

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Ucluelet Aquarium surveying spread and threat of microplastic

Reviewing 26 previous studies and analyzing the amount of micro-plastic in fish, shellfish, sugars, salts, alcohol, water and air, which accounted for 15 per cent of Americans’ caloric intake. Through analyzing the amounts of foods people ate, based on their age, sex and dietary recommendations, Cox and his team were able to estimate that a person’s average micro-plastic consumption is between 70,000 and 121,000 particles per year and rising for those who drank bottled water closer to 100,000.

The majority of research to date has focused on seafood, but the new study indicates a significant amount of the plastic humans consume may be in the air we breathe or water we drink. More research is needed on microplastic levels in our foods — particularly major food groups like beef, poultry, dairy and grains — in order to understand health impacts and the broader problem of plastic pollution, says Cox.

The study, co-authored by scientists at UVic, Hakai Institute and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Liber Ero Foundation.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

UVic

 

Kieran Cox is among a team of UVic researchers conducting a study that suggests humans are unknowingly consuming tens of thousands of plastic particles per year. (Credit: Kieran Cox)

Kieran Cox is among a team of UVic researchers conducting a study that suggests humans are unknowingly consuming tens of thousands of plastic particles per year. (Credit: Kieran Cox)

Just Posted

(Black Press Media file)
VIDEO: Langley RCMP officer takes down robbery suspect

Brookswood residents impressed by police response to backyard bandit

Vancouver Giants head coach Michael Dyck will be joining Team Canada as an Assistant Coach for the 2021 IIHF World Championships(Rob Wilton/special to Langley Advance Times)
Vancouver Giants head coach Michael Dyck named to Team Canada

Will be assistant Coach at 2021 IIHF World Championships

Langley’s Drew Mechielsen, seen here in a 2018 race, is back on the track with the resumption of international-level racing in Verona, Italy. (file)
VIDEO: Langley’s Mechielsen top Canadian at Verona BMX competition

Sport has been on hold for more than a year due to pandemic

The ER nurses, doctors, and medical technicians at Langley Memorial Hospital in front of the mural on the new admitting bay. The ER opened at the beginning of May after years of fundraising and construction. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Natural light and bigger facilities are a big difference

The new emergency room at Langley Memorial Hospital is busy with doctors,… Continue reading

A new mural was painted on a wall in Salt Lane May 14, 2021, by Fort Langley artist Alex Stewart. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Langley City brick wall sprouts flora

Alex Stewart painted his third mural in the downtown core

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10 million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

Linda Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, at press conference Monday. (Submitted photo)
Crime Stoppers receiving $200K from province for ‘Guns and Gangs’ tip line campaign

Executive director Linda Annis broke the news Monday morning in Surrey

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10 million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

(Vancouver Police Department)
Vancouver police ID 6 gangsters who pose a ‘public safety risk,’ launch gang task force

VPD asking public to stay away from these six people, who they say may be targeted in shootings

B.C. Wildfire Services shows a fire on Chehalis Forest Service Road as of Sunday, May 16, 2021. (BC Fire Services)
10-hectare fire near Harrison Mills rages out of control as second blaze ignites

A second fire burns near Silver River on east side of Harrison Lake

(Kamloops This Week)
Puppy’s home in question as BC Supreme Court considers canine clash

Justice Joel Groves granted an injunction prohibiting the sale or transfer of the dog

Most Read