“Sometimes they come back”: creepy facts about the plastic we eat

When dealing with waste plastic, the philosophy “out of sight, out of mind” is usually included – but in fact, nothing just disappears so easily, even if it disappears from our field of vision. About 270.000 tons of plastic debris, about 700 species of fish and other living creatures float on the surface of the ocean today. But, unfortunately, not only marine inhabitants suffer from plastic, but also the inhabitants of megacities – people!

Discarded, spent plastic can “return” into our lives in a number of ways:

1. You have microbeads in your teeth!

Everyone wants to have snow-white teeth. But not everyone can afford professional, high-quality whitening procedures. And often, many are limited to buying a special “especially whitening” toothpaste, since they are inexpensive. Special plastic microgranules are added to such products, which are designed to mechanically scrape off coffee and tobacco stains and other enamel defects (we don’t want to scare you, but these little “plastic helpers” also live in some face scrubs!). Why toothpaste manufacturers decided that adding some plastic to their products would be a good idea is hard to say, but dentists definitely have more work: they often come to patients who have plastic clogged in (the space between the edge of the gum and the surface of the tooth). Oral hygienists also suspect that the use of such microbeads causes increased bacterial growth. In addition, petroleum-derived plastic cannot be healthy if it has settled somewhere within your body.

2. Do you eat fish? It’s also plastic.

Spandex, polyester, and nylon, materials widely used in today’s synthetic clothing, are made up of plastic fibers. These fabrics are good because they stretch and do not wrinkle, but they cause severe environmental pollution. The fact is that every time you wash clothes made of such material, approximately 1900 synthetic fibers are washed out of each piece of clothing! Maybe you even noticed that old sportswear gradually becomes thinner over time, holes appear in it – just for this reason. The worst thing is that such fibers are too small, so they are not caught by industrial wastewater treatment systems, and sooner or later end up in the ocean.

Thus, every time you wash synthetics, you send a sad “package” through the waste “mail”, which will then be received by fish, seabirds and other inhabitants of the sea, which absorb synthetic fibers with water or from the flesh of other marine inhabitants. As a result, plastic reliably settles in the muscles and fat of the inhabitants of the ocean, including fish. It is estimated that about one in three pieces of sea-caught fish that you put in your mouth contains plastic fibers. What can I say… bon appetit.

3. Mea pintplastics, please!

Plastic, settled in the teeth, does not improve mood. Plastic in fish can completely discourage them. But the plastic contained in … beer is already a blow below the belt! A recent study by German scientists has shown that some of the most popular German beers contain microscopic fibers of plastic. In fact, historically, German beer is famous for its naturalness, and until now it was believed that thanks to the traditional recipe and the strictest quality control, it “” contains only 4 natural ingredients: water, barley malt, yeast and hops. But meticulous German scientists have found up to 78 plastic fibers per liter in various varieties of popular beer – a kind of unwanted “fifth element”! Even though breweries usually use filtered water, microfibers of plastic can still seep through even a complex cleaning system…

Such an unpleasant surprise that can not only overshadow Oktoberfest, but generally make you give up beer. By the way, such studies have not yet been carried out in other countries, but this, of course, does not give a guarantee of safety!

Unfortunately, teetotalers are not immune from such a danger: plastic fibers, although in much smaller quantities, were found by vigilant German researchers in mineral water, and even in … air.

What to do?

Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to clean the environment from microfibers and plastic microgranules that have already entered it. But it is possible to stop the production and consumption of harmful products containing plastic. What can we do? Be attentive to the choice of goods and vote for eco-friendly ones with a “ruble”. By the way, Western vegetarians are using a special mobile application with might and main, which often allows, by scanning a strip code, to determine whether the product contains plastic microgranules.

The ways in which plastic is “returned” described above, alas, are not the only possible ones, therefore, in general, it is better to limit the consumption and use of plastic and other synthetic packaging in order to preserve both the health of the planet and your own.

Based on materials    


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