Scientists have discovered that, on average, humans are ingesting a credit card's worth of microplastics per week.
The microplastics we eat and drink are hidden in all sorts of products. Researchers have found these contaminants in 25 to 33% of seafood, while 93-94% of tap water and bottled water also contain microplastics. But these microscopic particles don't just stop there. They've also been discovered in products as surprising as beer and table salt.
Now, we're learning that there's yet another type of insidious plastic making its way into our stomachs: car tires. A new study conducted by the San Francisco Estuary Institute and the 5 Gyres Institute just found that the largest contributor to plastic contamination in our water actually comes from "black rubbery fragments" that essentially exfoliate off of our cars every time we drive. These plastics (and rubbers) are linked to serious health concerns. The European Union is currently in the process of classifying microplastics as "a contaminant that is unsafe at any level of discharge."
Even worse, we don't actually know what other toxins might be clinging to these plastics that we're ingesting. Many of these products contain chemicals, dyes, and flame retardants. Tires, in particular, are often covered with oil and other fossil fuels that they've picked up from our streets. It's clear that something needs to be done.
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