Saturday, December 12, 2015

Micro plastics in the food chain.

Despite the fact that people are unlikely to ever ingest micro plastics directly, due to how the food chain works it is very easy for micro plastics to make it up from one of the smallest organisms. Zoo-plankton which are only the size of anywhere between 0.002-200mm find themselves often consuming plastic micro beads because of their similarity to their normal diet of smaller diatoms or phytoplankton. These plastics can often find their way into fish or other marine animals as they consume the zoo-plankton and in a chain enter fish that are consumed by people. The plastics that end up in the fish are often toxic to humans as well as the marine animals in various ways depending on the type of plastic. For instance, toxic metals such as mercury, lead, or cadmium have sometimes been found within the plastic. Other times, the plastic itself may also be toxic to some degrees to life. Many of them such as Diethylhexyl phthalateor or DEHP are considered carcinogens, which are chemicals that can increase the risk of developing cancer for those exposed. Even though plastic pollution is not something that will affect people directly, it is very easy for it to have an indirect effect on the general health of a population as it can very easily contaminate the food supply. One could consider banning all seafood but that's hardly practical, and it's hard to predict whether or not other forms of food can somehow be contaminated by these plastics as well.

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