6 Foods Found to Contain Plastic Particles, Raising Health Concerns

Plastic pollution poses a grave threat to human health and the environment. Global leaders convene to draft a binding treaty, but petrochemical lobby and fossil fuel-dependent nations resist restrictions on plastic production.

Hadeel Hashem
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6 Foods Found to Contain Plastic Particles, Raising Health Concerns

6 Foods Found to Contain Plastic Particles, Raising Health Concerns

Microplastic particles are ubiquitous in our surroundings, as they are used in packaging food items, coatings, and many other industries.

However, a recent report from the American network CNN indicates that these harmful particles are present in many of the foods we consume daily.

These foods include:

  1. Protein: The report mentions a study published in February last year that found ninety percent of samples of both animal and plant proteins contained microplastic materials, ranging in size from less than 0.2 inches (5 mm) to 1/25000 of an inch (1 micrometer).
  2. Fruits and Vegetables: According to a study conducted in 2021, if the plastic is small enough, fruits and vegetables can absorb it through their roots and transfer it to their stems, leaves, and fruits.
  3. Salt and Sugar: Salt can be laden with plastic particles. A study in 2023 found that Himalayan pink salt coarse contains a significant amount of microplastic materials, followed by black salt and sea salt.

On the other hand, a study conducted in 2022 confirmed that sugar is a source of these micro pollutants.

  1. Tea Bags: Researchers at McGill University in Quebec, Canada, found that tea bags can release huge amounts of plastic. They stated that one tea bag can release about 11.6 billion microplastic particles and 3.1 billion nanoplastic particles into hot water.
  2. Rice: A study conducted by the University of Queensland found that for every 100 grams (half a cup) of rice consumed by people, they ingest three to four milligrams of plastic. However, researchers noted that washing rice can reduce plastic pollution by up to 40 percent.
  3. Bottled Water: One liter of bottled water contains an average of 240,000 plastic particles, according to a study conducted last month.

Why This Matters: The widespread presence of microplastic particles in various food items highlights the need for greater awareness and measures to minimize plastic pollution. Understanding how plastics enter our food chain and affect our health is crucial for developing effective strategies to mitigate environmental and health risks associated with plastic contamination.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Various food items such as proteins, fruits, vegetables, salt, sugar, tea bags, rice, and bottled water can contain microplastic particles.
  2. Studies have shown significant levels of plastic contamination in these food categories.
  3. Washing rice and implementing proper waste management can help reduce plastic pollution in food.
  4. Awareness and proactive measures are essential to address the environmental and health impacts of microplastic contamination in our food supply.