Study finds sea salt is contaminated with microplastics

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Plastic waste we’ve been throwing in the ocean is now coming back to us via the food we eat.

Microplastic particles typically flow into the ocean, since they're often too small to be filtered out by sewage treatment plants.

The tiny pieces of plastic are mistaken for food and ingested by fish and other sea creatures.

Seafood meant for human consumption often contain these particles. And a new study published in Scientific Reports now shows that salt may also be a vehicle for plastic contamination.

Researchers studied 16 brands of sea salt extracted from eight different countries: Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan, Iran, South Africa, France, and Portugal. After dissolving and filtering the salts in their lab at the Universiti Putra Malaysia, they found that nearly all were contaminated with foreign particles, with the exception of the one from France.

All in all, 72 particles were found in the sea salts. Thirty of these were microplastics, seventeen were pigments that may have once been plastic, and four were dust particles. Twenty-one could not be chemically identified.

Scientists say the current concentration of plastic is low, and won’t affect human health. But if plastic pollution continues, those levels may increase and potentially become detrimental to our well-being.


RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Microplastics flowing into the ocean
2. Microplastics ingested by sea creatures
3. Seafood meant for human consumption found to contain plastic
4. Sea salt from 8 countries found with 72 foreign particles
5. Particles mostly plastic, with some dust and other unknown contaminants
6. Plastic concentration currently not dangerous to human health

VOICEOVER (in English):

“Microplastic particles typically flow into the ocean, since they're often too small to be filtered out by sewage treatment plants.”

“The tiny pieces of plastic are mistaken for food, and ingested by fish and other sea creatures.”

“Seafood meant for human consumption often contain these particles. And now a new study shows that salt may also be a vehicle for plastic contamination.”

“Researchers studied sea salt extracted from eight different countries and found that nearly all were contaminated with 72 foreign particles.”

“Thirty of the particles were microplastics, 17 were pigments that may have once been plastic, and four were dust particles. Twenty-one could not be identified.”

“Scientists say the current concentration of plastic is low, and won’t affect human health. But if plastic pollution continues, those levels may increase and potentially become detrimental to our well-being.”


SOURCES:
Scientific Reports, Hakai Magazine
https://www.nature.com/articles/srep46173#discussion
https://www.hakaimagazine.com/article-short/theres-probably-plastic-your-sea-salt