Diet for a sick planet: Studies find more plastic in our food and bottled water

Diet for a sick planet: Studies find more plastic in our food and bottled water

By James BruggersInside Climate News

This article originally appeared on Inside Climate News, a nonprofit, independent news organization that covers climate, energy and the environment. It is republished with permission. Sign up for their newsletter here.

If we are what we eat, there’s growing evidence to help explain how nanoplastics and microplastics are in our blood, in our intestines and in some of our organs.

Two new studies published this week shed further, and alarming, light on all the tiny plastic particles that people are consuming every day.

A liter of bottled water may contain nearly a quarter million pieces of the smallest particles of plastic. These nanoplastic particles are so small, scientists have found, that some pass through intestines and lungs or make their way into human blood and placental fluid. The bottled water study, done by researchers at Columbia and Rutgers Universities, was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Also published Monday, in the journal Environmental Pollution, was a paper from scientists at the University of Toronto and the Ocean Conservancy, which found that nearly 90 percent of 16 different kinds of protein commonly eaten by people, including seafood, chicken and beef—and even plant-based meat alternatives such as tofu and veggie burgers—contain microplastics.

The scientists estimated that Americans are consuming up to 3.8 million particles of microplastics per year from protein alone.

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