MICROPLASTICS: A HEALTH RISK TO HUMANS AND THE ENVIRONMNET

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Microplastics are small pieces of plastic that are less than 5mm and are wrongfully found in our environment. They are a product mostly of waste found in our waterways, however, microplastics can also enter the rivers and oceans from treated wastewater release and sewer overflow from heavy rains.

There are two types of microplastics: Primary and Secondary.

Primary microplastics are small plastic particles that are directly released into the environment. They include microbeads, plastic pellets, and plastic fibres. They are often found in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, microbeads from personal care products, synthetic fibres from clothing and from manufacturing processes.

Secondary microplastics are particles that come from larger plastic items as they degrade or breakdown in the environment over time. Examples of secondary microplastics are: plastic water bottles, plastic bags, plastic food containers, plastic cutlery, and fibres from synthetic clothing.

Microplastics are not biodegradable and when they enter the environment, their toxic chemicals and dyes leach into the water, soil, and air. As well, other toxic chemicals and organisms can stick to the microplastics, increasing the exposure to chemicals and harmful microorganisms which in turn increases the health risk to marine life, to the animals that consume them and to humans.

Studies have shown that microplastics have been found not only in some of the fish we eat but also in other food, our drinking water, the air we breathe, breast milk, human blood, lung tissue, colons, placentas, and human stools.

Although, the effects of microplastics are being studied, at present time not enough research has been conducted to determine the full extent microplastics have on human health. However, you probably don’t need a study to tell you they’re not good for you.

Microplastics in our waterways is a very serious problem as they are a health risk to humans and the environment. You need to do your part to save the people and the planet by reducing your use of plastics. For example, you can switch to beeswax wraps instead of using cellophane, water bottles instead of disposable plastic bottles, bring your own bag to the grocery store, and buy products that are made from natural fibres and natural ingredients.



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