Microplastics Cause Macro-Problems


Do you know that you have been eating and drinking plastic without knowing it? Microplastics are very small pieces of plastic, which are now starting to be discovered in the food and water people consume. With- microplastics come possible health hazards, and although scientists aren’t completely sure of what the long term effects of microplastics ingested by organisms are, these hazards are predicted to get worse and worse.

Scientists have found plastic fibers in human stool samples, because people cannot digest plastic and it usually goes straight through them, but some particles are small enough to enter the bloodstream.

When inhaling, if the particles haven’t reached the lungs through the bloodstream, the small fibers start to enter the lungs, which causes particles to build up and create respiratory issues.

“The fibers will build up more and more in our lungs and breathing will be a struggle as time goes on,” said DHS Science teacher, Eric Jackson.

Asthma is built up in the lungs’ airways and it causes a person to have a harder time breathing. Seven percent of people in the US have asthma, and that number keeps growing. As of 2009, eight percent of people have been diagnosed with asthma.

If no action is taken to reduce the amount of microplastics, or even regular plastic consumption that will eventually become microplastics, general human health will begin to deteriorate.

“Many aquatic animals are found with plastic in them. Many people are concerned with the sea turtles. There was that whale that was found a few weeks ago with about twenty pounds of plastic in it,” said Jackson.

Fish are one of peoples’ main food source, and since so many fish are found with tons of plastic in them, people are then eating the plastic which goes into their bodies.

93% of bottled water has microplastic fibers in it, according to a study by Fredonia State University of New York.

“A total of 259 individual bottles from across 11 different brands were analyzed,” according to Fredonia. Only seventeen bottles were found without any microplastics. Only 7% of bottled water is not contaminated with microplastics.

There are many eco friendly steps that people can take to reduce the amount of plastic intake. People don’t have to make huge steps, either. They can take small steps, which does make a difference. For example, many people are giving up the use of plastic straws. The small amounts of plastic adds up overtime. One person uses, on average, 1.6 straws per day. Many people have started using reusable bags while grocery shopping and use reusable bottles for water and drinks.

Many people just don’t think that their simple actions will help the environment or plastic intake, but overtime all their actions can help. Added up, a person uses many, many pounds of regular “small” plastics, like bags and straws, each year.

People don’t want to have to make a drastic change in their life that won’t affect them in the far future when they’re dead and the future generations have to deal with long term problems